By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Family, friends and community members came together Saturday, July 23, at Corpus Christi Church to remember 74-year-old Elias “Eli” Soufo—a fixture in the heart of town.
Eli grew up in Aleppo, Syria, and immigrated to Pacific Palisades in 1980 with his wife Amy. They had two children in the succeeding decade: Christina and Gaby Soufo. The siblings shared tidbits of their father in light of his recent passing.
Eli owned Marquez Liquor from 1982 to 1986, worked at the Shell gas station on Sunset Boulevard and Via De La Paz, owned a gas station of his own for a few years, then returned to Shell in 1990.
He went on to work for over 30 years at Shell, where he spent most of his time and community members got to know him well.
“He absolutely loved it,” Christina said to the Palisadian-Post. “He was there Monday through Saturday … That was his spot. He would go every morning at 8 a.m., and everyone in the community knew him and came to him.
“It was really booming back in the day. He would have everybody, from local community members to celebrities, come in. It was the spot, and he took any excuse to be there. He absolutely loved it.”
“You want to be able to depend on someone when you need someone, and he was that guy to a lot of people,” Gaby added. “He did it because he loved it, and he made sure that everyone felt like they’re in good hands.”
Growing up in the Palisades, specifically on the corner of Sunset and Swarthmore, Christina said her father thrived in the heart of town.
Every Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m., Eli would spend his day off at Corpus Christi Church as an usher. He was also an active member of the Palisades Americanism Parade Association.
“Sunset and Swarthmore … is one block away from the Shell station, and two blocks away from Corpus Christi Church,” Christina said. “Being born and raised in literally the center of town, we’ve seen everything change. We’ve seen all of Swarthmore change and Antioch change … but no matter what, my dad always worked one block away, and he went to church two blocks away. And that was it. That was his whole life, the Palisades.
“It was such an amazing, small-town experience being raised in the Palisades … We had this phenomenal, small-town experience of being raised where everybody knew our names, and everybody knew everyone in my family.”
After Eli died on July 13, more than 100 Palisadians shared memories of him on Nextdoor—be it at Shell, Corpus Christi Church or around town.
“This is absolutely devastating,” Palisadian Robert Ka wrote. “Whether it’s getting gas or getting our cars fixed at Shell, he was always so kind and a true gentleman. We’ve known him ever since we moved to the Palisades in 1975, and to hear this now is just so sad.”
“He was always so nice to me and greeted me every time by showing me that he remembered me,” Constance Colvin shared. “To have Eli recognize me always confirmed why I’ve loved living in the Palisades all these years. It’s a real home-town kind of place.”
Described as a simple man by nature, Gaby and Christina said that’s what they will miss most about their father.
“He was very dedicated and his life was very regimented … He would wake up, [have] coffee, go to the station, be there until … five or six, come home, have dinner, a little bit of TV time, so and so forth,” Gaby shared. “He was simple in that way … He was a rock in that way. That’s what will always resonate for me when I think of him … Being there.”
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