Former Ceres City Councilman Guillermo Ochoa, 54, was found dead at his home early Monday afternoon, Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra reported.
Ochoa's lifeless body was found face down inside his Eastgate home by his son, Christian Ochoa. Efforts to resuscitate him over a 20-minute period were ultimately unsuccessful, he said.
Ochoa had served on the Ceres City Council for six years from 2005 to 2011. He was defeated for re-election by Mike Kline by a margin of 32 votes in the November 2011 election.
"Guillermo did a lot for the Hispanic community," said Mayor Vierra. "I think the people will remember a lot for those things. He was a conduit for a period of time when we needed that. Even after he left the council he was always there and able to bridge the difference, and between the language barriers."
Ochoa blamed his 2011 defeat on the campaign tactics of Daniel Padilla which split the Latino vote and tilted the election in favor of Kline.
Mr. Ochoa had been appointed to the Ceres City Council in December 2005 to fill a seat vacated by Anthony Cannella, who then was elevated to mayor. Ochoa ran for and won re-election in 2007.
While serving on the council, Ochoa supported the building of the Ceres Community Center, the development of five new city parks, the renovation of Costa ball fields in Smyrna Park and the completion of the Whitmore interchange and overpass.
Ochoa lived in Ceres from 1972 to 1982 and then moved back in 1998 and had lived in Ceres since. He earned a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration and Economics from St. Mary's College.
His career included serving as a Human Resources manager for several large corporations including Campbell Soup, Chef America, Diamond Walnut Growers, Yellow Roadway Corporation and ConAgra Foods. He was self-employed as co-owner/operator of Garcia's Market in Empire.
Ochoa was a member of the Hispanic Leadership Council.
Besides his son, Ochoa and wife Martha have another child, Kimberly Ochoa.