Former Glendale Mayor Richard “Rick” Reyes died at age 85 on Aug. 11 from complications with bone cancer.
“The world could definitely use more Rick Reyeses. May his memory be a blessing to his family and to all of us in the city of Glendale. Rest in peace,” Councilman Ardy Kassakhian said during the City Council’s Tuesday meeting which adjourned in Reyes’ honor.
Reyes served on the Glendale City Council from 1993 to 1996, serving as mayor in 1995. He began his service to the city in the early 1960s, starting in the Streets Department, sweeping streets and painting roadway guard rails. He later served in the Glendale Police Department as a patrol officer, juvenile and gang detective, and in temporary vice and narcotics assignments.
“His most cherished role was that of the school resource officer, where he had a positive influence on many Glendale students and was known throughout the state as a pioneer and visionary within the burgeoning SRO program’s national development,” read a biography from the city’s communications officer.
“His sense of humor was fantastic,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said. “He was wise and of course, loved being around the students when he served as the school resource officer.”
In 1988, he was appointed as the city’s first community relations coordinator to help foster unity among the community. Due to his commitment, dedication and love for the police department, in 2021, the city named the department’s community room in his honor.
Before Reyes was involved in the Glendale community, he served in the U.S. Navy as a field and combat corpsman. While serving in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Reyes met his wife, Gloria Pualani Kaai.
Reyes also held a teaching credential and in the 1980s served as night school principal for adult education through Glendale Community College.
“He liked to tell people he lived the American dream, starting in Glendale by sweeping its streets and ending up in the city’s top office,” said the city’s biography. “While he enjoyed his ongoing contributions to Glendale, Rick stepped away from City Council duties after his four-year term but joyfully continued to volunteer his time for many, many more years.”
Councilman Ara Najarian highlighted Reyes’ dedication not only to Glendale, but to cities such as Rosarita Beach, Mexico.
“Rick did a lot of great things,” Najarian said. “He was a great community liaison and ambassador, if you will, to the people of Rosarita Beach.”
Continuing to serve Glendale as a volunteer elementary school guidance counselor with support from the police department, school district and other city agencies, it is believed Reyes had more than 10,000 Glendale volunteer service hours beyond his retirement, according to the city.
Reyes is survived by his four children: Gayle, Rick Jr., Mark, Randy, their spouses and four grandchildren.
No memorial service information is available at this time; inquiries may be made through Rick Reyes Jr. at Rick.Reyes@att.net.
“Rick was a character, but he was a brave soul, too,” Devine said.
— Kennedy Zak contributed to this report.
First published in the August 26 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.