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.
God Bless Eli. A wonderful man.
Happy you honored your mother/in/law’s birthday remembrance with a cake!
Also, thanks for the info on the Friends fiasco.
A great loss, I will miss him.
Very sad. Eli was always a kind, thoughtful human being. Words cannot express the sadness I feel. My heart goes out to his children and his wife Amy.
He and his family lived in my address before his house was torn down to build the house I bought. I don’t know how many times we talked about that but I invited him over and I think it was too sad to come see where he used to live. He said he rented it and was sorry he didn’t buy it. He was always so sweet and smiling and friendly and always fixed our cars on time. We will miss him.
A rare individual in today’s world. Our condolences to his family and all who loved him. 🌈🌷
Thank you for writing more of Eli’s history. I knew him only as the man I took all my cars to for anything they needed over many years. It is so nice to get a more complete
picture of him and I was delighted that his degree was in French literature. Most people we encounter are so much more complex than we realize. Farewell to a good human being.
I love this story about Eli’s life. I just attended his funeral. His son and daughter gave a lovely talk. I knew him from Shell and Corpus Christi Church. He was so kind and friendly and will be greatly missed. He was way too young to pass away. I will have some masses for Eli at Corpus. Joan Nicholson I spoke to son, Gaby after funeral. But couldn’t find others, many people there.
Does anyone have an address? Like everyone else, I was so touched by Eli. I didn’t know his wife but did get to know his wonderful son through the Y. I’d love to be able to send him and his mother a note. Thanks very lmuch
I don’t have an address, but perhaps reach out to Corpus?
Eli was the best of the Palisades. We would chat about Politics, Corpus Christi Church and all things Auto related. Every time I drive by the Shell, I think of Eli helping customers and leaning over a car engine. He knew more about old cars than any “authorized” Service mechanic.
He will be missed.
Eli was like a member of our family. I grew up bringing my old Jeep Cherokee to him for all the maintenance and repairs that got it well past 300,000 miles with us. I believe he was the best mechanic in the whole world. He was so kind to me and knew me by name. When I got older, I’d stop in on my way to my first job out of school if something seemed odd and he’d so patiently come out to check on it. Later I loved finding him in the back office just to say hi if I was getting an oil change for my next car. He was a wonderful person and this is a huge loss for the community. We will miss him every day.
Love, Christina Dolan
I didn’t get to know Eli well personally, but my wife has grown up with him as her family’s go-to mechanic all her life and only had the kindest things to say about him. Seeing how sad his passing made her is a testament to his impact to the community and the good life he lived.