Weekend Open Thread: We Say ‘Vaya con Dios’ to Hoagy Holguin – photos, testimonials…




OJB took a lot of photos of Hoagy Holguin’s graveside service yesterday at the beautiful Anaheim Cemetery. Unfortunately, your author is off to another memorial service, for John Farrell, that takes place this morning, so posting of most of them will have to wait until the late afternoon. There will be much more! Until then, here’s a taste of what’s to come, alternating with testimonials from his many friends…

After Hoagy's Graveside Service ended

After Hoagy’s Graveside Service ended

Douglas Pettibone:

My friend Hoagy has passed. He was a dear friend to me. He helped me with words of encouragement many times. I learned a lot from his experience and wisdom which he graciously shared with me.

Hoagy on a Hog

Hoagy on his trip to South Dakota, a couple of weeks before he died, to see his brother and ride on a Hog.

His condition, even up to his last days, did not prevent him from enjoying life. He had a contagious thirst for life. He went on a cruise to Alaska within the last month. He just got back a week ago from seeing his brother in South Dakota. He was there to fulfill a promise to his brother made earlier on that he would come and see his brother’s restaurant. While there he enjoyed, among other things, a Harley-Davidson Motorcyclist Ride (See picture to right.)

When I went to see him a couple weeks ago he told me that the tie I was wearing was not a “power-tie”. He then proceeded to go into his room and pull out one of the most spectacular looking ties I have every seen which I wore to court that afternoon and which I will now cherish forever. He was a sharp dresser.

He even threw his wife a great “Mexican theme” anniversary party. What stood out about this party he thew even though he was sick was that he even invited his oncologist to the party. What shows most about Hoagy’s personality and his impact on people is that the oncologist accepted the invitation and came to his party.

The list goes on.

He never let his condition prevent him from doing the things he loved and spreading happiness and joy to those he came into contact with. He always put other people especially his family before himself.

He constantly spoke about the love he had for his wife and his family whom he cherished beyond measure. He also expressed how fortunate he was to have a friend named Brian Chuchua whom he loved like a brother. Brian was at his home on the day he died.

He was an inspiration. He set an example in life and in his death. He told me recently he wanted to set an example on how to die with dignity for people to witnesses. He set an example alright. He raised the bar for all of us. I thought this was honorable beyond mention that he would have this kind of selfless foresight. He saw it perhaps as a parting gift to those around him including me. He was therefore among other things a courageous individual. He had no fear of passing and said in his own words “I’m good with it”. The only thing is he did not want to be was a burden to his family. He never was.

He spoke of having a great life. He thought life was spectacular. He constantly mentioned things that stood out to him which showed he thought of life as a gift from God. He cherished life everyday. He expressed no regrets.

When he knew the end was near he confirm his faith with confidence.

On behalf of all those who met you Hoagy we love you and we are going to miss. See you again soon.

Your friend,


Paying respects at Hoagy's casket.

Paying respects at Hoagy’s casket.

Tom Tait: (eulogy from Friday’s funeral)

Hello, I am Tom Tait and I am mayor of Anaheim…the city that is blessed to call Hoagy one of its own.

Patty, our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family.

Ruben, thank you for asking me to say a few words about my friend Hoagy.

I’ve known Hoagy for About 20 years. I don’t know exactly when we met, but I do know that I knew of Hoagy before I met him. His reputation preceded him. And, in Hoagy’s case, that’s a good thing!

I was a new City Councilman in Anaheim and I kept hearing about one of the city commissioners who was shaking things up. By that, I mean he was questioning the status quo. He was asking the hard questions and not accepting answers that didn’t make sense. He would ask uncomfortable questions and expect answers.
So, before I even knew him, I liked him. He was doing the job he was supposed to do, as a commissioner representing the people of Anaheim, even though his questions and positions made him unpopular with the establishment.

Hoagy brought to the job a business sense that didn’t tolerate mediocrity.

He pushed for efficiency so that the people got the biggest bang for the buck for their taxpayer dollar.

He fought for transparency even on issues that might have been embarrassing to the city.

In sum, he voted his conscience regardless of whether or not it made people upset. That’s what his reputation was as a commissioner. Then I got to know him personally, and found that this reputation of tenacity and transparency fit him well.

After serving as a city commissioner Hoagy took that tenacious attitude of serving the people of Anaheim to the School Board where he narrowed his focus to specifically the kids of Anaheim.

I believe this was his calling.

For anyone who thought he was a tough advocate for the taxpayer, they hadn’t seen anything until they saw Hoagy as an advocate for the kids. He was tough and forceful in protecting the kids interest and making sure they were well represented at the table. Of course, in staying with his convictions, he sometimes rubbed some folks the wrong way. He effectively worked to save the district from waste and inefficiency. He wanted to make sure that the kids got the best education possible for money that was being spent. He fought for them.

Hoagy was not only generous with his time and talent, he was also very generous with his treasure to the kids and people of our city. Very very generous. Ask any charity in town. I don’t know anything about Hoagy’s personal finances, but I do know that he gave a lot of it away to those less fortunate…especially kids.

Hoagy was a great public servant in the best meaning of the term. But he was more. To Patty and his family he was a great husband and family man. He loved his family. I know that. Everyone knows that.

And to me, and so many of you here, he was a great friend…the type of friend who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. For me, it was a political shirt. He was in my corner.

Hoagy was an active member of the Anaheim Republican Assembly, where again he wasn’t afraid to rock the boat. He was also a strong advocate for district elections, where he was a leader in that great movement.

They say politics is like making sausage…don’t ask how it’s done, just appreciate the result. Hoagy was good at making sausage.

But forget the politics…Hoagy was a good and loyal friend…in good times and in bad. He was a wonderful man.
He was kind.

It is a privilege to be mayor of this great city. And it’s a privilege to hold this position that speaks for the 350,000 people of Anaheim.

So, on behalf of the people of Anaheim, Patty, we offer our sympathy and condolence to you. We are with you in your sorrow. And, we’re with you in celebration of Hoagy’s life.

Anaheim deeply appreciates Hoagy for his years of service to our city. And from me personally, I am so grateful for Hoagy’s unconditional friendship. I will miss him.

May he rest in peace.

Scene from Hoagy's reception at the White House restaurant, courtesy of his good friend Bruno.

Scene from Hoagy’s reception at the White House restaurant, courtesy of his good friend Bruno.

Steve Sheldon:

Hoagy and I go back to our days on the Anaheim Redevelopment Commission in 1995. A memorable vote was when we made a stink and got our fellow commissioners to recommend against staff’s efforts to eminent domain a small business owner so Home Depot could relocate. Hoagy was always challenging staff. They had to bring in one of those “consensus” mediators because staff just couldn’t handle all his questions. Boy, he made me look mellow and moderate. Great guy.

Carrying Hoagy's casket to the gravesite,

Carrying Hoagy’s casket to the gravesite,

Doug Vogel:

Hoagy was the best man I’ve ever known and I am glad that I had the pleasure to work with him since his 2010 run for Anaheim City Council.

What was most admirable about Hoagy was that he always did what he felt was right and would take a stance on something even if it wasn’t the most popular stance. He was loyal to his friends and those he supported, in politics and in life! He was never one to pander for support and always appealed to the moral conscience of other elected officials encouraging transparency in government.

He always fought for those who didn’t have a voice by giving them a strong shoulder to stand on. He seldom held grudges and was magnificent in turning adversaries into allies.

Hoagy truly put others before himself and even in recent conversations with him, he asked how others were doing and was reluctant to speak about how he was doing or if he was in any pain.

I will miss our partnership in the the political world and will help continue to fight for issues that were important to him; making sure that government is always accountable to the people that it serves.

Hoagy, you were an inspiration to so many and we will carry your legacy forward!

Long shot of Hoagy's mourners near the tent, and some under the shade trees.

Long shot of Hoagy’s mourners near the tent, and some under the shade trees.

Cynthia Ward:

I would like to share the schedule for his final arrangements. The funeral is Friday at 10 am, at St. Anthony Claret Catholic Church on La Palma. Mass of Christian Burial, anticipated time one hour.

Burial will follow immediately after the Mass, at Anaheim Cemetery, 1400 E. Sycamore Street in Anaheim. There will be more info at the service regarding a “celebration of life luncheon” after the burial, to give us time to reminisce.

Arrangements by Hilgenfeld if anyone wants to send flowers. Hoagy had told friends to support ASBO if they didn’t want to send flowers. The Anaheim Small Business Organization was one of his recent projects, he felt that small business was the backbone of any economic recovery, and were generally owned by locals who kept their money right here at home. He was furious at the way both the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce had turned their backs on this critical component of the business community, and wanted to see ASBO thrive and aid those small, locally owned businesses get the resources and support to really take off. So a check to ASBO would be a nice way to honor him, or flowers would comfort his wife. You know Hoagy, he would humbly decline any offer of anything for himself, not really understanding that WE need to find some tangible way of honoring him and saying, “this man lived among us and this man mattered a great deal to us.”

Doug Vogel shared, “He seldom held grudges and was magnificent in turning adversaries into allies.” yes, you clearly knew him well. In fact, Hoagy and i began as mortal enemies, a hatred fueled by lies told to us about each other in an effort to either keep us apart or get us tearing each other to bits. Thankfully mutual friends got us to see that we would like each other if we only gave it a chance, and in talking about the things we had in common rather than our differences, we found that our differences were man-made bits of fiction, spoon fed to us by those who did not have the best of intentions. If ever I could call a do-over on my life, I would rewind the 2010 election. Can you IMAGINE how different it all could have been if he had not been attacked and smeared? (yes by me, and I have to live with that) Could he have won it? Nobody knows, but I have to believe the difference would have been considerable if Eastman had the good natured integrity of Hoagy there to set an example of how to be a Council member rather than following the footsteps of Murray. (sigh…)

Hoagy was so gracious in his forgiveness over the horrid behavior from me and from others. He understood we were acting on information from someone we trusted completely, and as Doug Vogel mentioned, he didn’t carry a grudge, in fact once he offered his forgiveness he would never let me speak of it again. “water under the bridge” and instead would direct his attention to the future, and how we might go about making it right.

When a handful of us realized we needed a stronger voice (or a bigger stick) to demand our rights to transparent, open, and ethical government at City Hall, Hoagy was just plain THERE, never wavering, always asking what is next and what do we need to make it happen…the man wanted so desperately to pass a better world on to Patty’s grandkids, that he loved as his own.

If it helps anyone, I can share that he did not suffer at the end, I know I feared for the pain we often saw flicker across his face before he got it under control and went back to pretending it wasn’t there. His wife called for a few of us Saturday, and while it was hard to see him so THIN, he wasn’t struggling against pain, he was actually peaceful. He smiled a little, recognizing my husband and me, and let me hold his hand, and he didn’t/ couldn’t speak, but I promised we would finish the work that had begun and we would all be there for his wife…and he smiled again and rolled over and slept, very peacefully. No pain. Thank God for that, above all else, if God was not going to give us the miracle we wanted, He at least made that transition from this life to the next a peaceful one without pain. So i hope that helps those who love him. He didn’t hurt, the cancer didn’t torment him, and in that thing HE BEAT THE CANCER.

What an amazing man. Seriously, how does someone go from hating each other to being called to a death bed? One of those people has to be Hoagy Holguin, I don’t know anyone else who could be that gracious. Well done, good and faithful servant. Rest until we meet again, the stories we will have to compare will keep us all talking for eternity…literally. And yes, it IS on us to finish what was started.

Hoagy Hoguin

Again, Hoagy encouraged those whose tradition does not demand gifts of flowers to donate in his name to the Anaheim Small Business Organization (“ASBO”), a civic group that he helped to form and in which he remained active until his death.  Donations may be handed to an ASBO Board Member at the above events or sent to:

Anaheim Small Business Organization
P.O. Box 92825-5093
Anaheim, California

Panorama of crowd facing his resting place.

Panorama of crowd facing his resting place.

This is your Weekend Open Thread. We have LOTS to tell you about what will be happening next week. So talk about this, or maybe that, or whatever else you’d like, within reasonable bounds of discretion and decorum.  (You don’t have to limit yourself to discussion of Hoagy.  We’ve already given plenty of opportunity.)

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)