Editor’s note: This is a semi-regular feature that announces the deaths of people who lived in or impacted Santa Monica. Oftentimes the names and information are gathered from the ends of City Council meetings, when council adjourns in the memory of those who’ve passed.
Mayor Pro Tempore Tony Vazquez this week honored Danny Villanueva, a placekicker and punter for the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s.
Villanueva, who lived in the Ocean Park neighborhood for many years, Vazquez said, died earlier this month at the age of 77. Villanueva’s son, Danny Jr., lived in the Ocean Park house after his father moved out, Vazquez said.
Vazquez met him in the late 1980s, after he co-founded Univision, the Spanish-language television network.
“After going through his professional career, he was a pretty good philanthropic individual,” Vazquez said.
“He was very generous with his money in terms of helping out folks, especially those who were looking to do positive role model productions,” he continued.
Villanueva, who had two sons and a wife, died of a stroke.
He set numerous franchise records for both the Rams and the Cowboys, including longest field goal, single-season punting average, consecutive extra-point conversions and most extra points made in a season without a miss.
He retired from the NFL in 1967 after his Cowboys lost to the Packers in what is now dubbed the “Ice Bowl,” the game preceding Super Bowl II.
“He was very generous with some nonprofits that I had an opportunity to work with,” Vazquez said. “He will be sorely missed.”
Frank B. Jansen
City Councilmember Pam O’Connor honored Frank B. Jansen, who died recently at the age of 86.
“One of the things Frank said is that one of the best things he ever did — he was a native New Yorker — but one of the best decisions he ever made was to move to Santa Monica,” O’Connor said, “and he lived in Santa Monica the last 25 years of his life, where he enjoyed the city.”
His daughter, Jane Jansen, is a longtime resident and small business owner on Montana Avenue, O’Connor said.
Earlier this month, Mayor Kevin McKeown honored the grandson of Santa Monica education activist Irene Zivi.
“Irene and Sam Zivi have lost their beloved grandson, Noah Dewitt, who passed away at age 24 in Eugene, Oregon,” McKeown said. “Noah was a graduate of the University of Oregon, where he majored in journalism and international relations. He had studied abroad in India and Ghana. He traveled widely throughout Europe. And while at the University of Oregon he was the editor-in-chief of the Oregon Voice, the campus art and culture magazine. Noah was a gifted young man with a deeply caring and curious mind and an amazing capacity to find joy in life and share it with others.”