Funeral services for Gilbert Saenz Cedillo, father of Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedilla, will be held Friday at Resurrection Church in Boyle Height, it was announced Wednesday.
Saenz Castillo was born in Barstow, California on Jan. 10, 1929 to Pedro Cedillo and Mary Saenz. He was 84.
In a heartfelt letter sent to family, friends, and constituents, the councilman said he takes comfort in the knowledge that his father is once again with the woman he was married to for over 65 years, Mary Ruiz Cedillo, who passed away last year.
According to the councilman, his father had a tough life but never stopped working to make things better. At the young age of 13, Saenz Cedillo and his friend Fernando Rael ventured out on their own, ending up in Los Angeles, where, though barely teenagers, they rented an apartment, enrolled in school and found jobs. During his teenage years, Saenz Cedillo went to school during the day (graduating from Belmont High School) and worked in the evenings. He had jobs at the Grumman’s Chinese Theater, the Hotel Roosevelt and at a nearby restaurant, washing dishes, doing odd jobs and making enough money to pay the bills, according to the councilman. At age 17 he enlisted in the Army, and would later tell his son it was “the three squares a day and new underwear that sold him on joining the military.”
Gilbert Sr. and Mary raised their five children, Susie, Gilbert, Richard, Phillip and Roseann in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights.
The elder Cedillo spent years as a cannery worker, including at the American Can Company, Kern’s Foods in La Puente and finally Starkist Tuna in the Harbor area.
“He was a proud union member and shop steward of both the Steelworkers of America and the Teamsters during his career as a Master Production Mechanic,” writes the councilman, who also says his father was extremely patriotic and who he credits for spearheading state legislation to name the East Los Angeles Interchange the Eugene A. Obregon Memorial Interchange.
Funeral services will begin with a viewing at 10 a.m., followed by Mass at 11 a.m. at Resurrection Church: 3324 Opal Street, Los Angeles, CA 90023. Burial services will immediately follow at Resurrection Cemetery in Monterey Park: 966 Potrero Grande Dr.