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S. Apodaca; Ex-Mayor of San Clemente

Insurance broker and Assembly candidate, active in many city and volunteer groups, dies of apparent self-inflicted gunshot.


Steve Apodaca, a former mayor of San Clemente who worked on an array of city commissions and volunteer groups from Bobby Sox to the local Rotary Club, died Monday after he apparently shot himself at his home, authorities said. He was 50.

Apodaca, who owned an international insurance brokerage and in recent years also worked as a political consultant, was found dead in the backyard of his San Clemente home shortly before 11 a.m, officials said.

"By all indications, it appears to be a self-inflicted single gunshot wound," said Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department. He said no note was found and an autopsy was planned.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

Apodaca was mourned Monday at San Clemente City Hall, where he was a familiar and well-liked figure known to be a tireless volunteer.

"He was a guy who didn't just like planning but would be there to do the work, setting up for the pancake breakfast, drawing the lines for the Little League game," recalled San Clemente City Manager Michael W. Parness. "He was one of the people who makes a community special."

Apodaca and his wife, Beth, who is the board president of Laura's House, a shelter for battered women, "were on just about every board in town," Parness said. "I think just Saturday night he was the emcee for the Rotary Club's Day at the Races."

A Downey native, Apodaca moved to San Clemente about 13 years ago and quickly rose through the ranks of commissions and committees. They included board membership on the county division of the League of California Cities and the South Orange County National Bobby Sox Softball Organization.

He was elected to the San Clemente City Council in 1994 and served a four-year term. He made an unsuccessful bid in the Republican primary for the 73rd Assembly District seat, Parness said.

He is survived by his wife, a preschool-age daughter, an adult daughter and an adult son.

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