Former South Lake Tahoe councilman dies
November 10, 2005
Frank Souza, one of South Lake Tahoe’s first City Council members who rallied behind incorporating the city in 1965, died in Cameron Park on Nov. 6. He was 90.
A real estate broker, community planner and longtime Kiwanis Club member, Souza moved to Cameron Park in 1987 after 30 years at the South Shore.
Friends and colleagues remembered him as a fun-loving yet earnest community leader.
“He always had a big smile and a positive outlook on everything he undertook,” said former Mayor Del Laine.
Souza, along with many others, worked diligently to incorporate the city, which allowed residents more control over the look of their town.
“We wanted to direct our own destiny,” Laine said. The move allowed zoning changes and electric grid rewiring, and made room for rules disallowing billboards.
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“These were things that seemed cosmetic but were essential to the change in quality of life,” Laine said.
Souza also loved to play golf.
“He was a tough competitor around the golf course,” said the Rev. John Grace, who played at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course every summer morning with Souza. “Frank loved to compete.” Grace is a reverend at St. Theresa Catholic Church in South Lake Tahoe.
Souza was active at St. Theresa parish, where he helped raise funds to build their school in 1959.
Ed Laine described Souza as an enthusiastic Kiwanian, remembering an unusual request several years ago.
“In one instance, when I was president of the local club, he came up to me before the meeting and he said, ‘I want you to fine me, I want to donate $100 to the club,” Ed Laine said.
“In Kiwanis, we do gag fines, usually $1 or $2. He made a wisecrack remark, insulted the president or something, so I fined him $100.”
Tom Millham, another fellow Kiwanian, remembered Souza as an encouraging leader.
“He encouraged people to do their best, be their best and he was there to help them,” Millham said.
Souza’s golf reputation followed him wherever he went.
“There was a guy out there from New York getting ready to play at Edgewood where Father Grace and Frank played every day,” Millham said. “And this guy said to the pro, ‘Do you mind if I cut ahead of these old geezers?” And the pro said, “I tell you what, if you can keep up with them, I’ll give you a free round.”
Souza was born in Madeira Island, Portugal, and immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was 3. He lived in the Bay Area, played professional baseball in the minor leagues for the Cincinnati Red Sox, was a master welder at Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond during World War II and was in the restaurant business with his brothers.
Souza moved to South Lake Tahoe with his late wife, Pearl, and family in 1957.
He served as regional vice president of the California Real Estate Association and treasurer of California Tahoe Regional Planning, a state agency. He served as El Dorado County Water Commissioner, member of the Juvenile Probation Commission, and board member of both the Tahoe Chamber of Commerce and El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce.