Huntington Park City Councilman Manuel “Manny” Avila died Monday, city officials said. He was 81.
A cause of death was not disclosed. His family did not provide a statement Monday.
“Avila began his robust civic career in 1990 as a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, where he served until 2001 and was then reappointed in 2015,” city officials said in a statement early Monday night. “Manny also served as past president of the Huntington Park Lions Club, Huntington Park Friends of the Library and served as parish council treasurer at St. Matthias Church.”
Avila was first elected to the City Council on March 7, 2017, and won reelection this year, according to the city’s statement.
Born in Mexico City, Avila had been a Huntington Park resident since 1968, according to his biography on the city’s website. He and his late wife, Rebecca, raised three children in the city “and worked tirelessly to foster positive and impactful changes for its residents,” officials said.
Avila attended college and became an elementary school teacher in Mexico, according to his biography. After coming to the U.S., he worked in factories in Vernon and joined Steelworkers of America Local 7100, where he was a member for more than 25 years and served as financial secretary for more than 13.
He obtained an associate’s degree in psychology and sociology from East Los Angeles College and became a case worker with Los Angeles County, where he helped families get “aid and Medi-Cal assistance,” his biography states.
The City Council selected Avila to serve as Huntington Park’s mayor from 2020 to 2021; he was succeeded by current Mayor Graciela Ortiz.
“The mayor and City Council are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of their friend and colleague,” officials said.
The city will lower flags to half-staff in his honor and will notify residents of memorial services and future ceremonial actions, officials said.
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