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Clarence L. Azevedo
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Birth: Oct. 21, 1909
Mountain View
Santa Clara County
California, USA
Death: Feb. 14, 2001

Mayor of Sacramento (1956-1959)

"Clarence Azevedo ... worked at a grocery store in Brighton, next to Perkins after his father died when Clarence was 10-years old, working after school from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. for 10 cents an hour, then going home to milk the family cow, and peddle his four quarts of milk on horseback before returning to the small home in Brighton to do his homework by the light of a kerosene lantern. For a one-month period, when he was 14 years old, he ran the grocery-gas station operation by himself when the owner went on vacation.

"In 1923 he bought a used Ford touring car for $180. At the time the County paid out-of-town students $5.00 a month transportation money to attend high school, and Clarence loaded up his car with himself and six other Sacramento High School students, collecting the $5.00 from each for a total of $35 a carload. After school he returned to his 10-cents-an-hour grocery job and the milk delivery route. In the summer he worked in the Rooney hop fields cultivating and irrigating for 25 cents an hour.

"Stating that he was 21 instead of his actual age of 18, Clarence applied for a job with Safeway one afternoon, and without waiting for the store to call him, he showed up the next morning at 7:00 a.m. just in case someone meanwhile had quit to make a job opening.

"Thus began a 16-year career with Safeway, beginning at the 25th and J Street store peeling onions. He then graduated to the order department, and impressed his bosses when he took an order from a Sloughhouse farmer for $132 worth of groceries. He worked from 7:00 a.m. until the work was done, whatever the late hour, at $22.50 a week.

"It wasnt a life of "all work and no play," for he played semi-pro baseball as a catcher for baseball teams in Perkins and Florin for 15 years, from the age of 15, a contemporary of players like Joe Marty and Stan Hack, "though not in their league!" he admitted.

"At age 18 he married Alice Banks, age 16, and they had one child, Phyllis Jean. They were living in Stockton at the time, where Clarence had been transferred for 10 months. Later, back in Sacramento, he was successively manager at various Safeway stores, eventually winding up in 1938 at a new store at Freeport and 4th Avenue with just himself and a butcher on the premises, building up the business from a first-week total of $315 to the highest volume Safeway store in northern California within six months, and employing seven clerks.

"In addition to managing the store, he set up a training course for new employees, earning $5.00 for each employee hired and trained. So impressed was management that he was offered the job of supervisor of 27 stores, based in Siskiyou County.

"But meanwhile Alice Azevedo had opened a dress shop in Oak Park in 1935 with $750 of Clarence's year-end bonus money from Safeway, and Clarence elected to leave Safeway on July 10, 1943, to join Alice in the operation of California Apparel which by that year had expanded to four stores in Sacramento, one in Roseville, and one in Stockton.

"Frequent vandalism forced the operation out of Oak Park, and in 1952 the Azevedos sold all of their stores to concentrate on one location in the Fruitridge Shopping Center, operating there for 17 years until they sold the store on April 28, 1986. In its last full year, 1985, the store did a $2.7-million business.

"In the meantime, Clarence had gotten involved in politics upon his appointment to the Sacramento City Council in 1953 to complete the term of Roy Nielson who had been elected to the State Assembly. He ran later that year for election to the post, being one of 30 candidates, and came in third. He ran again in 1955, and this time came in first. By virtue of collecting the most votes he became Mayor, repeating in 1957 by winning in 162 out of 165 precincts. His political involvement went beyond local affairs, as co-chairman of John F. Kennedys and Edmund G. Pat Browns electoral campaigns in Sacramento.

"The springboard for his role in politics was undoubtedly his community activism, being a member of virtually every civic organization in the city. He had been president of the Red Cross, the Cancer Society, Goodwill, and Easter Seal; and vice president of the Chamber of Commerce for 10 years, to name just a few of his affiliations. In the Portuguese-American community he belonged to Cabrillo Civic Club and the IDES.

"He left the City Council in July 1960. In 1961 he was appointed to the State Fair Board, served eight years as president and one year as manager, and was chairman of the committee formed to build Cal Expo. In 1962 he was one of 19 founders and vice president of the Bank of Sacramento, sold in 1969 to Security Pacific."

[Clarence L. Azevedo]

- Lionel Holmes and Joseph D'Alessandro, Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area, Second Edition, Portuguese Historical and Cultural Society, 2003
Family links: 
  Alice E. Banks Azevedo (1911 - 1999)
Saint Marys Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum
Sacramento County
California, USA
Created by: Kevin Rankin
Record added: Aug 22, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 115914273
Clarence L. Azevedo
Added by: Kevin Rankin
Clarence L. Azevedo
Added by: Kevin Rankin
Clarence L. Azevedo
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Margie Camomile
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