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Albert Soliz’s Name Goes on El Rio Library

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

When Albert H. Soliz was growing up in a barrio in Oxnard, he was known as “a street fighter, a hell raiser,” according to his son. He was a high school dropout who dedicated much of his adult life to pushing young people to stay in school and out of trouble.

On Sunday, county officials named a county library in memory of the man who became known as the unofficial “mayor of El Rio,” an unincorporated community near Oxnard.

The El Rio branch of the Ventura County Library, at 2820 Jourdan Street, was posthumously named after Soliz in a ceremony that included testimonials from family, friends and politicians who worked with Soliz.

“My father never finished high school, but he was always pushing us to stay in school,” said Archie Soliz. “He was involved with education, even though he never had one formally.”

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About 200 people attended the 45-minute dedication, some crying as speeches were read about Soliz.

“This library is a way to remember him by,” said his son Beben Soliz, who helped unveil Soliz’s name, now emblazoned on the south side of the building.

“Education was very important to him. He made sure I stayed in school.”

Soliz, who died of cancer at 65 on April 14, volunteered as an employment counselor for El Rio youth, and worked in a county program for high school dropouts.

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He also helped establish the Oxnard Boys and Girls Club, served on the Ventura County Fair board, was involved with the El Rio Lions Club, the Oxnard 4-H club, El Rio Little League, the American Red Cross and the Knights of Columbus. Soliz was also a decorated Army veteran from World War II.


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