Leo Raymond Silva, 91, of Riverbank passed away at home surrounded by his family on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013.
He was born Aug. 30, 1922 at home in Denair, CA. He was the eldest of four children of Leslie Anthony and Lela May Stennett Silva.
Leo and his family moved to an almond ranch on Estelle Avenue in Riverbank and he attended school at Cardozo, graduated from the old McHenry School and Modesto High School. He went to work for the Santa Fe Railroad until he enlisted in the 8th Army Air Corps. He served as a tail gunner on a B-17 in the 96th Bomb Group, 339th Squadron out of Snetterton-Heath airfield in England. He was proud to be of his service to his country in WWII.
Returning from the war he married the love of his life, Betty Lois Mott on July 28, 1945 in Stockton, CA. He continued to work for the Santa Fe Railroad moving around until 1953, when the family returned to Riverbank. He worked as a signal maintainer for the Santa Fe for 35 years.
When he returned to Riverbank, Mr. Silva became very involved in the community serving on Riverbank City Council and as Mayor. He coached Little League, was past President of the Riverbank Lions Club, a life member of Sylvan Improvement Club and a member of Riverbank Historical Society. He was also a member of the Riverbank United Methodist Church for over 60 years, serving his Church in many capacities. He was very devoted to service in the Riverbank Masonic Lodge #459, serving as Master as well as many other offices. He was awarded the Hiram Award in 1989. He was a member of the Scottish Rite. He served as Chapter Dad for Demolay Boys and received the Demolay Legion of Honor award. Mr. Silva was a 50-year member of both the Masonic Lodge and the Order of the Eastern Star.
He also had a great love for fishing. Whether it be trout fishing in the Sierras, striped bass in the Delta, steelhead in Northern California rivers, or salmon in the Pacific Ocean or Alaska, he was always ready to go fishing.
Mr. Silva was a very special person, loved by his family and many friends. He was part of the Nifty Drive-In regulars solving all the problems over breakfast or a cup of coffee. He will be missed but family and friends take comfort in knowing he is at peace and Heaven has another very special angel.
Survivors include his son, Leslie (Rusty) Silva; his daughter-in-law Lynda Silva; his granddaughter Michelle Silva; his sister Arlene Mattos; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Betty Mott Silva; his parents Leslie and Lela Silva; his sister Carol Waddell Tillotson; his brother Wilbur (Bill) Silva; and his granddaughter Katherine Ines Silva.
Visitation will be 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29 at Riverbank Memorial Chapel, 3131 Santa Fe, Riverbank.
Service will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 30 at Community United Methodist Church, 1480 Poplar, Oakdale. Burial will be at Lakewood Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory can be made to the Riverbank United Methodist Church, PO Box 1091, Riverbank, CA 95367 or Community Hospice.
The Riverbank (Calif.) News
Nov. 27, 2013