Lou Piltz, former La Mirada City Councilmember and Mayor recently passed away. Lou was loved by the community.
Here is a little snippet Lou sent the La Mirada Blog last year, providing his insight to early La Mirada that will appear in the La Mirada history book, “Reflections From McNally’s Mirror,” being released in June of this year:
In 1957 when Hiram's Market opened, I had to drive from Long Beach to La Mirada over 2 lane asphalt roads , about 12 miles, as manager of the new market. There was very little housing in between and lots of dairies and open space. The new store was in the La Mirada Shopping Center, where some of the signs indicated Bonds Men’s Store and May Company. The street called Rosecrans was a two lane street separated by a dirt strip in the center. A lot of construction was occurring for Ohrbach’s, Newberry’s, and Barker Brothers. When I became more involved in the area, it was not a city yet; The City of La Mirada was incorporated in March 1960. I decided to purchase a home in the City in 1964. I instructed the real estate company, because I was becoming more involved with the city, I wished to be located in the city. Guess what? They sold me a home that was right in the middle of an area called Mitchell’s Island-the only area excluded from the last city incorporation election, because of the negative votes of the first election. I wondered why City Hall was across the street and I wasn't in the city? It was an island surrounded by the City of La Mirada. After my discovery I proceeded to organize a move to annex our area to the city, and we were successful!
Here are some accolades from Gene Gleason, longtime La Mirada local attorney and Kiwanis Club member who grew up in La Mirada:
From the time I was a first or second grade child in the early 1960’s turning in empty glass soda bottles at the Hiram Market in the old La Mirada Mall to store manager Lou Piltz, I have learned many life lessons from him, especially from how he treated other people. Those lessons include:
- Laugh at yourself: Who has not seen Lou acting like a child, telling self deprecating jokes or stories? We could all benefit by not taking ourselves too seriously and being able to laugh at ourselves. How many times I can recall seeing a Key Club member from La Mirada High School not sure how to react when their mayor balanced a spoon on his nose at a breakfast meeting or when Lou gave them lessons on how to flip “panny-cakes”at a fundraiser!
-Smile - even when that may be the opposite of what you want to do. It takes so little effort and so many people need to see a smile.
-Serve others because it is the right thing to do, not out of a desire for recognition for yourself.
-Be alert to the needs of others. We are called to be the eyes and ears of our community looking for those in need.
-Sincerity- when you ask “How are you doing?” Lou was not just “making talk.” When he asked how you were doing, he honestly wanted to know how you were doing. How little effort it takes to be sincere and care about your fellow man.
-One of the prices of truly caring is that you feel disappointment- Lou had a difficult time hiding it when someone let him down, when they did not measure up to what they should do. The hurt/disappointment would show-that was because he cared.
-I can picture him shaking his head from side to side and or rolling his eyes upward when something like that happened, as if to say “You can do better than that.”
-Stability-Love of Family. Lou was justifiably proud of his wife Sylvia, his children and his grandchildren. There was never any question about Lou's dedication to his family or his family's love for him
-Be flexible, it is not about you-steady wins the race. Lou's long term commitment to his family, his city, his friends and his faith was unshakeable. Unlike those who “come and go” looking out for their own short term best interests, there was never any doubt that Lou was in it for the long run and that his intentions were true.
-Last but not least, always, always remember the children of the world. Lou was frequently asked to give the invocation at weekly Kiwanis meetings and he always ended with “and remember the children of the world”. He loved to perform magic tricks for children, read books to children in the local schools and, for several decades, coordinate the awarding of college scholarships to worthy high school students in the community.
Here is the official City of La Mirada press release on Piltz:
The former La Mirada City Councilmember, died on Wednesday, March 20 at the age of 91. Piltz served on the City Council from 1978 until 1994, and served three terms as Mayor.
Lou Piltz was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 14, 1921, and moved as a young boy with his family to Cleveland, Ohio. Piltz met his wife, Sylvia, when he was a high school student working at the ice cream and soda fountain of Greene’s Drug Company in Ohio. They were married on June 14, 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio. In September of 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was stationed in many locations including Panama. Piltz proudly served five years as a serviceman. Before Piltz enlisted, he and Sylvia purchased new furniture in Cleveland. In an act of generosity and gratitude for his military service, the furniture company offered to store all their furniture at no charge until he returned from duty after the war. The furniture company kept their promise for years. When he was discharged, they chose to move to Long Beach, California. The company
|Lou Piltz as La Mirada City Councilman, city file photo|
shipped the furniture to California and paid the freight charges.
In 1950, he and Sylvia moved to Long Beach. In 1957, they moved to La Mirada and began what would become a long span of community service. Piltz was manager of the Hirams, then Lucky’s Store in the former La Mirada Mall. He developed that store into one of the most successful stores in the chain. He then was promoted to regional management with Lucky’s. He and Sylvia also operated the Orange Julius in the mall. While he was store manager, he was instrumental in setting up the distribution of surplus food to organizations serving the poor.
Piltz was on the La Mirada Planning Commission for four years then appointed to City Council. Piltz served on the La Mirada City Council for 14 years bringing a very special gift of bringing levity and laughter to public meetings and community functions. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the La Mirada Shopping Center Association, and the Theater Association. He was appointed to the City Council in 1978 and served until 1994. He served as Mayor in 1981, 1985 and 1990.
Following his retirement from the City Council in 1994, Piltz continued to be very involved in the community. He volunteered with Meals on Wheels, the Senior Mentoring Program, Kiwanis Club of La Mirada, and Senior Net Learning Center. He used his knowledge of magic tricks to entertain anyone who would watch. He also enjoyed reading books in the City’s Tiny Tot programs. He was also very active with the Alzheimer’s Association doing volunteer counseling and raising funds. He was very active with Temple Beth Orr in La Mirada.
Piltz was best described as a person who enjoys people and finds comfort in helping others. La Mirada is fortunate to have had Lou Piltz as a dedicated community leader, volunteer, mentor, and educator.