Dan Valenzuela, a longtime Venice resident who was a member of the original Venice Town Council and a recipient of the ìSpirit of Veniceî award, passed away at his home in Venice Sunday, April 15th. He was 80.
The eldest of six children, Valenzuela grew up in Santa Monica, attending local public schools.
Born in Santa Monica on February 11th, 1927, Valenzuela joined the U.S. Navy in 1945 and served two terms. In 1948, he enlisted again, this time in the U.S. Army.
Upon his discharge from the service, Valenzuela attended Santa Monica City College, where he met his wife Nancy. They were married soon after and settled in Venice, where they raised their three children, Anne, Paul and Peter.
Valenzuela was always active in community life, his family said. When his children were young, he coached Paul and Peter in the Penmar Little League program, becoming president of the League for several years.
He joined the Knights of Columbus at St. Mark Catholic Church in Venice, and served as grand knight and district deputy. He and his wife were active members of the St. Mark Parish community and had many lifelong friendships among their fellow parishioners.
An avid golfer, Valenzuela never missed a chance to join his friends on courses throughout Southern California, where he became a fixture, according to the family. He was active in the Mexican American Golf Association and chaired many of their tournaments over the years.
After retiring from the U.S. Postal Service, Valenzuela became involved in the community life of Venice. He joined the original Venice Town Council, and later served on various neighborhood councils and advisory groups, as well as the Venice Chamber of Commerce.
He had a passion for the history and character of the Venice community and joined the Venice Historical Society, serving on its board of directors.
He was a regular on Abbott Kinney Boulevard and the Venice Boardwalk, and played a pivotal role in the early days of the Abbott Kinney Festival, his family said.
In 2003 he was given the ìSpirit of Veniceî award for his tireless work for his beloved community.
Valenzuela was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years, Nancy. He is survived by his children, Anne Valenzuela-Smith, Paul Valenzuela, and Peter Valenzuela; his son-in-law Dan Smith; grandchildren Eloy, Dolan, Em-ma and Julia; his brother Joseph; sister Eloise Michaels; and numerous nieces, nephews, friends and family.
A Vigil Rosary will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 19th, with a Funeral Mass celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 20th. Both will be held at St. Mark Catholic Church, 940 Coeur díAlene Ave., Venice.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Boys & Girls Club of Venice, 2232 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, 90291.