GILROY — Riding down Freeway 101 towards Los Angeles, it’s exhausting to pass over the 10-mile stretch of highway bearing the title “Sig Sanchez Highway.”
You wouldn’t understand it from riding on it lately, however that a part of the highway used to be each a loss of life entice and a site visitors nightmare till Sanchez, a fixture of the South County group and a political drive, fought for 12 years to widen it.
From riding as much as Sacramento a number of instances a month to foyer to amassing supporters in his group, Sanchez pulled each and every trick within the ebook to get the freeway stepped forward, and he succeeded.
However it received’t take a large signal subsequent to the highway for space citizens to keep in mind who Sanchez used to be and what he represented.
“Sig is the anyone folks want the politicians of lately would all be like,” mentioned former Gilroy mayor and Sanchez’s self-described mentee, Don Gage. “They noticed the way in which he operated, they noticed the issues he’d executed, so I feel they’ll be mindful him for that.”
On Saturday, Sanchez died peacefully in his sleep only a few months after turning 100 years previous.
Born to Spanish immigrant folks in 1920 and and reared on a farm in Hollister together with 10 siblings, Sanchez knew the that means of exhausting paintings from early in his existence.
Even though he in large part tended to his land and to his small companies, Sanchez went into politics in 1954 when he discovered of a gap at the Gilroy Town Council, a place that he would run for and win. He went directly to grow to be an influential native chief — some would say a king-maker.
Sanchez served at the Town Council for 9 years, together with two phrases as mayor from 1958 to 1963. After his stint there, he ran for the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, the place he served for 4 phrases from 1963 to 1978. Two years after that he used to be appointed to the Santa Clara Valley Water District board, the place he stayed for 33 years.
With a mixed 57 years of civil carrier underneath his belt, there’s undoubtedly folks knew who Sanchez used to be. And had been his funeral to be held in a time earlier than the coronavirus pandemic, his sons are satisfied the church would overflow with folks.
For Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of San Jose, Sanchez used to be greater than a political colleague; he used to be additionally an expensive buddy.
“Sig Sanchez made huge contributions to our group thru his public carrier as Mayor of Gilroy, as Member of the Board of Administrators of Valley Water, and as a Member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors,” she mentioned in a written remark. “He had – in abundance – excellent sense, a humorousness, excellent persona, and a dedication to his circle of relatives. I imagine him a chum and mentor, and I mourn his loss.”
However regardless of his reputation as an area flesh presser, his prowess as an actual property tycoon and his tenacity as a trade proprietor, folks say you wouldn’t know Sanchez had the sort of pedigree if you happen to noticed him,
“When folks had been round him, they felt at ease,” Gage mentioned. “They didn’t see an individual who used to be appearing like a large shot or the rest. He acted like a farmer and prefer a chum. Despite the fact that he used to be in place that would exchange folks’s lives, he all the time took it severely and revered it.”
For his son David Sanchez, his father used to be a type of flesh presser they don’t make anymore.
“We want we had politicians like him,” he mentioned. “Thru his entire public carrier, over 50 years, he actually used to be now not within the political box for political achieve. His existence used to be about giving again to the general public.”
Sanchez is survived by means of his 5 sons and one daughter, 13 grandchildren and 16 nice grandchildren. Circle of relatives member say any person wishing to pay their respects must accomplish that at a carrier Saturday, Feb. 13 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Gilroy.