Elias Soufo, who was born August 1, 1947, passed away on July 13, two weeks shy of his 75th birthday.
He was beloved by many in town because of his expertise and honesty in providing car maintenance and repairs at the Shell station on Sunset at Via de la Paz.
Eli was born in Aleppo, Syria, the son of Gabriel and Odette Soufo. He was in the Boy Scouts for several years and served in the Syrian military for five years, where he made first lieutenant.
He attended the University of Aleppo and graduated with a degree in French literature. Afterwards, he moved to Saudi Arabia, where he worked for Datsun.
He met his spouse Amy, in 1979 in Saudi Arabia, and were engaged for just a month before they married on November 4, 1979, in Syria.
The couple moved to Pacific Palisades in 1981, and Eli owned Marquez Liquor from 1982 to 1986.
From there he moved to the Shell station for a short stint, before stepping away to own his own gas station.
Eli returned to the Palisades Shell around 1992 and then spent the next 30 years of his life dedicated to helping residents in this community.
News about Eli’s passing elicited an outpouring on Nextdoor Palisades, the social media site.
One resident wrote: “Oh this makes me so sad…….He was always so nice to me and greeted me every time by showing me that he remembered me. We’d occasionally speak a little French and I just loved that. 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 and made raising my boys here such a happy thing!”
Another resident added, “Eli was a gentleman who treated us customers with kindness and honesty. He will be missed in the community.”
Another Shell customer responded, “Eli saw me through countless auto mishaps, from tires to batteries, and his kindness will be missed.”
One person summed up Eli perfectly: “He was one of the nicest and kindest persons in the Palisades. He will be missed.”
In addition to being a businessman, Eli was active at Corpus Christi Church, where he was an usher for the 9:30 a.m. Sunday mass for nearly 40 years.
He worked with the parade committee (PAPA) on the golf cart patrol every July 4 and was also president of his homeowners association.
Eli is survived by his wife Amy Soufo, daughter Christina Soufo and son Gaby Soufo. He is also survived by his sister Layla and brothers George and Antoine.
His daughter Christina wrote: “He was literally only in three places: the Shell station Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Corpus on Sunday or at home. He never owned a cell phone; we always knew where to find him.”
Eli’s funeral will be held at Corpus Christi at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 23. Members of the community are welcomed. No flowers are needed, but if someone wants, they can donate to the charity of their choice in Eli’s name. He loved Veterans and Catholic charities.