William R. Soza
SANTA CRUZ — Many confidences, laughs and stories were shared around the barber chair of William R. Soza during his 50 or so years cutting hair in Santa Cruz.
Soza, 78, died Saturday. Services are 11 a.m. Saturday at Santa Cruz Memorial Park.
Soza owned three barbershops in Santa Cruz and operated the Cove Style Shop on 26th Avenue in Pleasure Point for 20 years. He retired in 1996.
"He was the town barber of Santa Cruz, pretty much," his son, Willie Soza, said.
"I get chills thinking how many people might show up at the service.
"He was such a talented man and meant so much to so many people. He wasn’t just a haircutter."
Soza was a good haircutter, though, said Rick Petersen, a Santa Cruz real-estate broker who was a client of Soza’s for more than 30 years.
Soza helped introduce the razor cut and won first place in a 1961 hairstyling contest in San Francisco. He also cut the hair of celebrities, including Clint Eastwood’s.
"He was just a great guy and a great patriot," Petersen said.
"We used to laugh a lot. (His shop) was kind of a hangout."
Willie Soza, who has two children of his own, still gets asked if he’s "the barber’s boy," and said his dad cut the hair of four or five generations of some Santa Cruz families.
Soza loved people, and even seemed to charm fish onto his hook during his frequent jaunts off Capitola Wharf, his son said.
Though Soza grew up without a father, he raised nine children in a large Moran Lake home, taking on seven after marrying Lillian Romano in 1955.
He also worked with United Farm Workers founder Cesar Chavez to improve conditions for farm workers.
Soza joined the Marines at age 15. Most of his unit was killed during the first strike on Guadacanal during World War II.
He served as a machine gunner and marksman, and later worked undercover on Samoa trying to locate Japanese informants, his son said.
William Soza’s mother, who raised eight children, was told he was missing in action. She fainted when her son came home.
"It was harsh," Willie Soza said. "Times were tough. But my dad was very proud of his service as a Marine and of Roosevelt. Many people back then had a profound love of that man."
A friend of Willie’s called him this week to reminisce about how Soza used to drive around in a 1955 cherry-red step-side Ford pickup.
It had a 1956 Thunderbird engine, a speckled silver cushioned interior supplied by a customer, loud tail pipes and one of those "the few, the proud, the Marines" bumperstickers.
He was known for his handshake and would smile when he saw the wince coming.
"He was just something else," his son said.
The Soza household was one where friends walked in without knocking and where Soza’s famous barbecue chicken with the secret marinade often fed 30 or more people.
Soza also worked nights at a Seabright-area cannery when he was younger and carried on a "bittersweet business rivalry" with his wife, who owned Lillian’s Beauty Shop at the other end of 26th Avenue for several years, Willie Soza said.
He believed he would persevere with hard work and a belief in himself, Soza said.
"He succeeded by that."
January 31, 2002
William R. Soza
BORN: Feb. 23, 1923, in Phoenix, Ariz.
DIED: Jan. 26, 2002, in Santa Cruz.
EDUCATION: Attended grade school and two years of high school in Brea.
OCCUPATION: Worked as a barber in Santa Cruz for about 50 years; served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an anti-aircraft gunner during World War II and as a military police officer at the Presidio.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Vice president of Tres Pueblos Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter; started a local campaign to send packages to soldiers in Vietnam; vice president of Barber’s Union No. 891; awarded the Good Conduct Medal.
SURVIVORS: Sons Mike and David Gregg and Darrell Soza, all of Kauai, and Don Gregg and William R. Soza Jr., both of Santa Cruz; daughters Tonya Keaton of Bainbridge, Wash., Dorothy Nakazawa and Doralene Gregg, both of Kauai; brother Bernabe Soza Jr. of San Jose; sisters Barbara Ajemian of Canoga Park, Amelia Erickson and Eleanor DiCarli, both of San Jose, Mary Endicott of Milpitas, Dora Risinger and Josephine Aries, both of Gilroy; 16 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
His wife, Lillian Gregg, died in 2000; and his son Dick Gregg died in 1995.
VISITATION: 4-7 p.m. Friday at Santa Cruz Memorial Park Mission Chapel, 1927 Ocean St. Ext.
SERVICES: 11 a.m. Saturday at Santa Cruz Memorial Park Mission Chapel. Burial with full military honors will follow at the park’s Garden of Honor. The family encourages all veterans to attend.
January 31, 2002
Services were private for Mabel Flammang, who died Wednesday in Santa Cruz. She was 87.
Mrs. Flammang was born in Minot, N.D., and moved to Santa Cruz 15 years ago. She lived in San Diego most of her life. Most recently, she lived at Oak Tree Villa in Scotts Valley.
Mrs. Flammang was an avid reader and loved animals, especially cats.
She is survived by son Dennis Flammang of Encinitas, and daughter Cheryl Curry of Bonny Doon.
Her husband of 60 years, Alfred Flammang, died before her.
Contributions are preferred to the Hospice Caring Project of Santa Cruz County, P.O. Box 670 Aptos, CA 95001.
Arrangements are by Pacific Gardens Chapel.
July 21, 2002
Jeanette M. Behrendt
Services are Wednesday for Jeanette Marie Behrendt, who died July 12 while vacationing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She was 27.
Miss Behrendt was born in Hayward, and moved to Santa Cruz with her family at an early age. She graduated from Santa Cruz High School in 1993.
She loved life’s adventures, her family said.
She is survived by father Lynn Behrendt of Santa Cruz; mother Sharon Butterworth; brother Steven Behrendt Herbert, of Santa Cruz; sisters Joy Behrendt and Tammy Butterworth, both of Santa Cruz; and stepmother Donna Herbert of Santa Cruz.
Friends may call 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday at Oakwood Memorial Chapel, 3301 Paul Sweet Road, Santa Cruz. Services are 2 p.m. Wednesday at Oakwood Memorial Chapel. Burial will follow at Oakwood Memorial Park.
In memory of Miss Behrendt’s love of surfing, a paddle out is planned for noon Friday at Cowell Beach.
Friday would have been her 28th birthday.
July 21, 2002
Dominga G. de Romero
Services will be Wednesday for Dominga G. de Romero, who died Friday at Watsonville Community Hospital. She was 96.
Mrs. Romero was born in Arrallan, Jalisco, Mexico, and came to Watsonville in 1970 from Mexicali.
She enjoyed gardening and spending time with her grandchildren.
She is survived by sons Pablo Romero of Mexico and Manuel Romero of Watsonville; daughters Maria Vivian and Maria Conception Quintero, both of Mexico, Julia Romero of Los Angeles, and Maria Elena Espinoza and Rosa R. Valencia, both of Watsonville; sisters Rosario Gonzales and Carmen de Vivian, both of Mexico; 42 grandchildren; 57 great-grandchildren and 10 great, great-grandchildren.
Friends may call from 12-5 and 6-9 p.m. Tuesday at Davis Memorial Chapel, 609 Main St., Watsonville.
A chapel blessing will be 10 a.m. Wednesday at Davis Memorial Chapel.
Mrs. Romero will be buried at Pioneer Cemetery in Watsonville.
July 23, 2002
Mary Lucille Schill
Services will be Thursday for Mary Lucille Schill, who died Sunday at a residential care home in Corralitos. She was 93.
Mrs. Schill was born in Berkeley and lived in the Montclair area of Oakland for many years. She moved to Santa Cruz in 2000 and lived at Dominican Oaks for about 18 months.
Mrs. Schill was a member of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Piedmont. She was a talented musician and singer, family members say, and loved to garden.
Mrs. Schill is survived by sisters-in-law Mabel and Alice Schill of Piedmont and Doris Rebholtz of Union City; several cousins; one niece and two nephews.
Friends may call from 10:30-11 a.m. Thursday at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 322 St. James Drive, Piedmont, and a Mass of Christian burial will be 11 a.m. Thursday at the church.
Her husband, Clifford Schill, died in 1979.
Contributions are preferred to a favorite charity.
Arrangements are by Benito and Azzaro Pacific Gardens Chapel.
July 23, 2002