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Tony Lesa, former Whittier volunteer, dies at 51

WHITTIER — Anthony “Tony” Joseph Lesa, a Whittier native who was once named this city’s Volunteer of the Year, died unexpectedly Jan. 23 at his home in Ontario. He was 51.

Lesa died of natural causes, family members said. 

Lesa was born in Los Angeles on June 13, 1968, and was adopted by Leon and Barbara Lesa. He grew up in Whittier, attending West Whittier Elementary, Lydia Jackson Elementary, Dexter Elementary, and Whittier High School. 

He was diagnosed with diabetes as a teenager and learned as much as possible about the disease. Throughout his teenage years, he worked to mentor other kids with diabetes. 

After high school, Lesa battled alcoholism but found support in Alcoholics Anonymous. 

In the 1990s, Lesa started his own painting company and acquired several big jobs, including work at the Block at Orange and the Irvine Spectrum. In recent years, he worked with his father, Leon, as a carpenter. 

Tony is survived by his wife, Susie; his children, Derek, Rocquel, Jonpaul, Sarah and Elijahreign; grandchildren, Skye, Abby, Simon, Miles, Leo, Christian and Santiago; sisters, Krista Lesa, Kamey and husband Ruben Carrillo; nieces and nephews, Klarissa, Katarina, Keianna and Kash; great nephews and nieces, Kirra, Miles and James; and his parents, Leon and Barbara Lesa.

A funeral service will be held Saturday, Feb. 1, at 11 am at Whittier First United Methodist Church, 13222 Bailey St.  A public viewing will be held starting at 10 am. A reception will immediately follow the funeral in the church’s social hall.

Lesa’s family asks that those in attendance at his funeral service to please wear red as a show of support for his love of the Red Sox, and also that those who are able to, to bring an AA chip.

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