David Roland Portillo, age 84, a resident of Mohave Valley, passed to the Lord on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas, Nev., with his wife of 62 years, Elsie and his family at his side. He was born on March 1, 1933 to Gilbert Portillo and Violet Turner Portillo in Los Angeles, Calif.
On February 18, 1955, he married the love of his life, Elsie Aros, at Our Lady of Lords Catholic Church in East Los Angeles, Calif. at the 9 a.m. children’s mass. They had four children, Christine Portillo Johnson, Carrie Portillo Wetter, Nancy Portillo Kiphen and John Portillo. His home also became a second home to his son-in-law’s, Stephen, Raymond and Brian; his grandchildren; and the children’s friends such as Francine Wohl, better known as Cheech.
David graduated from Garfield High School in the summer of 1951, where he took a semester of drafting. He went to work for J.L. Hengstler and Associates at the age of 21 years of age as an errand boy, but soon caught the eye of Larry Hengstler due to his hard work and interest in learning the business. David was 38 years old in 1972 when Mr. Hengstler talked about retiring and he began buying the business with another associate Hugh Webber. Business was good for the new firm Portillo & Weber and Associates in the 70’s & 80’s. Kaiser Hospitals and Broadway Department Stores were being built all over Southern California, The University of California San Diego Library (Geisel Library), Makaha Valley Resort in Oahu, Hawaii, with additions being made to the Loma Linda Hospital, University of Southern California at Los Angeles, and the L.A. Times building along with jobs in Mexico, Canada and England to name a few. All this from a boy from East L.A. who was given a chance to show what he could do and from a man who saw his potential to become a Mechanical Engineer.
David will always be remembered for his love of his family and his interest in hot rods. Before retiring and moving to his beloved Mohave Valley, he lived in La Habra, California where his garage was the center of car building on weekends with his great friends, Raymond Brownell and Dennis Willis, who fondly and unofficially called themselves The North Hills Gang. His 1929 Ford two door sedan and his 1940 Ford Coupe were torn down and re-built with love and laughter with his friends at his side. It was all about the build for David and he sold both vehicles much to his wife Elsie’s dismay. He then built for his wife a 1960 El Camino, which he painted Toyota Red because the gang stated “we don’t work on white cars” when she asked for it to be painted white. His last project was a 1950 BMW Motorcycle which had been in pieces in a box for at least 20 years. It took many years to track down the parts needed to complete it as he was always a stickler for authenticity.
He will always be remembered as a loving, respectful and hardworking man, who loved knowing he lived a wonderful life with the woman he loved.
David is survived by his wife of 62 years; daughters, Chris, Carrie and Nancy; son, John; sister, Barbara Novikoff; eight grandchildren, Casey, Blake, Taylor, Stevie, David, Topher, Cole and Maddie; and ten great-grandchildren, Evan, Ari, Lilly, Zane, Hayden, Aiden, Lennon, Ana, Alana and Andreas.