Mark Vasquez, a civic leader and longtime operator of Saywell Florist, passed away Tuesday at his home in Downey. He was 75.He was born Sept. 21, 1938 in San Antonio, Texas, and had been in the floral business since age 15. He moved to California in the early '70s and opened flower shops in Inglewood and Beverly Hills. He sold his flower shops and briefly retired in 1987 before going to work for Forest Lawn in Hollywood Hills. Mark retired again in 2002 but reentered the workforce to help his wife, Dee Bacus, at Saywell Florist. Mark was heavily involved in the local community, serving as president of Teleflora and the Downey Rose Float Association. He also belonged to the Downey Elks Lodge and worked with Las Floristas and Las Damas, creating headdress balls and floral design competitions. He twice ran for Downey City Council, the first time in 2004 when he lost to David Gafin. Though he came up short, he was appointed to the city's hospital board and Community Services Commission. Mark ran for city council again in 2012 on a platform that promised to keep the Downey Fire Department but lost to incumbent councilman Luis Marquez. "I'm a concerned citizen dedicated for Downey," Vasquez told the Patriot last year. "I'm a retired florist of 60 years. Downey has been good to us, I just want to fulfill my civic duties and help the city." Mark is survived by his wife, Delores "Dee Bacus" Vasquez; children, Vanessa Vasquez, Steve Lofing, Cyndi Adam, Saul Vasquez and Mia Vasquez; grandchildren, Stan, Kelli, Robert, Brian, Allison, Justin, Ashlyn, Hannalei, Quentin, Vincent, Jose and Hector; and great-grandchildren, Amby, Baby Steven, Baby Aiden and his dogs Petey and Chloe. He was predeceased by a son, Mark Jr., and a grandson, Steven. A viewing will be held Friday, Oct. 11, from 5-8 p.m. (vigil at 5:30 p.m.) at Zrelak Family Mortuary in Downey. A celebration of life "Elks Honor Service" is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 13, at 4 p.m. at the Downey Elks Lodge, with a reception to follow.
********** Published: Oct. 10, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 26