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Former Lakewood Council Member Joe Esquivel Passes

August 25, 2022

Former Council Member Joe Esquivel passed away last night.

Joe Esquivel served on the Lakewood City Council for a total of 21 years, from 1990 to 2011. He served five terms as mayor.

Before he was elected to the City Council, Esquivel was a member of the city’s Recreation and Community Services Commission for 18 years, and he had been a Lakewood Youth Sports volunteer coach for 13 years.

He was active in many Lakewood community groups and causes over the years, including the Lakewood Jaycees, Lakewood Family YMCA, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, Lakewood Pan American Association, Lakewood Regional Medical Center board of directors, St. Pancratius Church, Meals on Wheels, and the Rotary Club of Lakewood, where he served for many years as the coordinator of the annual Project Shepherd holiday assistance program for families in need.
“Joe was beloved by thousands of Lakewood residents for his friendliness, jovial personality and decades of service to the Lakewood community,” said Mayor Steve Croft.

“I will always remember my years with Joe on the City Council,” said Croft, “and I’ll also remember Joe for continuing to lead an active life, including volunteer work, after retirement from the City Council. He and his longtime friend Wayne Piercy (also a late former council member) were a regular presence with Meals on Wheels and Project Shepherd well into their 80s. Joe will be sorely missed by those of us who knew him on the City Council and by so many residents who appreciated all that he did for Lakewood.”

Wayne Piercy (at left) and Joe Esquivel helping Project Shepherd in 2016.

Esquivel’s service as a city council member was closely identified with major accomplishments in Lakewood in the 1990s and 2000s, including:

• Creating a team of Deputy Sheriffs (Special Assignment Officers or SAOs) who work with residents and merchants to target crime hot spots;
• Successfully preventing the imposition of costly federal flood insurance on Lakewood properties by advocating for completion of the Los Angeles River Flood Protection Restoration Project;
• Modernizing the city’s system of water wells, water mains and storage facilities; and
• Starting 24/7 access to customer services via Lakewood’s early adoption of a city website.

Esquivel was born in 1932 and grew up in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, located along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. After serving in the Navy and being discharged in Long Beach, he and his wife Pat settled in Lakewood in 1963. They raised a family here with children Debbie, Diane and Doug. Joe worked for the American–National Can Company in Carson for 35 years and served in the leadership of the United Steelworkers local district 39.


Joe said that one of his biggest joys as a resident of Lakewood was serving as a volunteer coach of 8- and 9-year-old youngsters in basketball and football at Bolivar Park. He received the Mayor’s Award for 13 consecutive seasons of volunteer coaching in the Lakewood Youth Sports program.

Joe was predeceased by his wife Pat and is survived by his children Debbie, Diane and Doug and four grandchildren.

Plans for a memorial service are pending.