The City of Edinburg has lost a loyal son, say lawmakers and former city officials about former city council member and mayor pro-tem Fred Longoria who passed away this week.

Longoria, 80, died on Sunday, March 22, due to complications of a stroke at McAllen Heart Hospital, Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, first announced on his blog.

The lawmaker shared a distant relation with Longoria as Peña’s eldest son, Aaron Lionel, married Longoria’s daughter Clarissa in 2005. Peña also credits Longoria with launching his political career in 2002.

“Fred Longoria was a man who loved the City of Edinburg in any way he could he would serve the people of the community,” Peña told the Review. “He was a real inspiration to me, and to many others.

“He encouraged me to run, at the time when he was the most popular man in the City of Edinburg, everyone knew him,” Peña said.

Longoria began his tenure as a city commissioner in May 1992 and served until May 2002. During that span he held positions on the Board of Planning and Zoning, and was a boardmember on Amigos Del Valle, a cooperative effort between county and city officials providing assistance to the elderly of Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy counties in South Texas. Longoria was also an Edinburg Chamber boardmember from 2001 to 2002.

He was an entrepreneur and owner of Fred’s Food Store, Clean Rite Janitorial Supplies, and Sweet Scent. He also served in the National Guard and was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Edinburg.

“Fred was a very community oriented individual and elected official,” said former City Manager John Milford who served from 1993 to 2003. “He was always available for phone calls and took people’s interest at heart, and I think that’s what separated him in a lot of different ways from other elected officials.

“He brought a different approach in viewing challenges from the community, and he will thoroughly missed,” Milford said.

Mr. Longoria is survived by hi wife, Sylvia Longoria of Edinburg; seven children, Clarissa (Aron III) Longoria Peña, Priscilla (Rick) Olivarez, Michelle (Manuel) Guerrero all of Edinburg, Derek (Sandy) Ruiz of San Antonio, Texas, Gina Longoria of Dallas, Texas, Lolly (Jesus) Peña of Edinburg, Fred (Allison) Longoria, Jr. of McAllen; 14 grandchildren; two brothers, Miguel (Angie) Longoria of Edinburg and Charlie (Kay) Longoria of California; a sister, Olga (Henri) Deroaul of California; and sister-in-law, Leonor Longoria of Edinburg.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Michael Longoria; brother, Ruben Longoria; sister, Viola Silva; granddaughter, Miranda Hunter.

Visitation for Mr. Longoria will start at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at Memorial Funeral Home located at 208 E. Canton Road in Edinburg. A rosary will follow at 7 p.m..

Funeral service will start at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, at St. Joseph Church located at 122 W. Fay St. in Edinburg. Burial will follow the funeral service at Valley Memorial Garden Cemetery located at 3600 N. Taylor Road at Mile 2 North, in Mission.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial contributions made to St. Joseph Catholic Building Fund, 122 W. Fay, Edinburg, TX 78539.