We are sad to report the death of Bill de la Garza, who served on the RELAC Board of Directors for more than 20 years, five terms as president.
De la Garza, who was deputy director of the Department of Parks and Recreation when he retired in 1991, joined the RELAC Board on Jan. 1, 1999 and served as president 2001-02 and 2011-13. He resigned in 2019 at age 84 due to health issues.
He represented retirees on the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA) Board of Retirement for 15 years, serving as chair and numerous terms as secretary. When his last term expired Dec. 31, 2017, he chose not to seek re-election, instead lending his support to the successful campaign of fellow RELAC Director Les Robbins.
RELAC Director Dave Muir, a member of the LACERA Board of Investments and formerly the alternate retiree representative on the LACERA Board of Retirement and LACERA’s first chief counsel, said de la Garza worked tirelessly for retirees. “Every L.A. County retiree owes a huge debt of gratitude to Bill for his lengthy and dedicated service in looking out for the best interests of retirees. Bill’s concern for the financial and operational success of LACERA was evident during his long tenure on the Board of Retirement. His dedication to the best interests of retirees was primary, second only to his family.”
RELAC Director Robbins, chair of the LACERA Board of Retirement, said de la Garza will be missed by all who worked with and for him. “Bill de la Garza is one of those rare people who come along during our lifetimes. A commitment of public service for all of the right reasons.”
RELAC President Brian Berger said that de la Garza was one of the reasons he asked to be part of RELAC’s Executive Committee. “I think I only met him a few times, face to face, but that was incidental to all I learned about him, and his commitment to all of what we are.”
De la Garza served as president of the California Retired County Employees Association in 2007 and 2008. The executive committee of CRCEA, which represents 20 retiree associations, adjourned in de la Garza’s memory on Jan. 18 and directed that the CRCEA conference in April be dedicated in his honor to recognize his many years of service.
De la Garza was cremated and no funeral services held.