Longtime L.A. City Hall aide Anton Calleia dies at age 90 of heart failure

Anton Calleia, a Los Angeles City Hall aide for nearly a quarter of a century, died at his Carlsbad home of heart failure. He was 90 years old.

Calleia, who died Aug. 31, was an associate of former L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley and served as a representative for the 1984 Olympic Games. He was born in Malta and survived the Nazi bombing of the Mediterranean island during World War II before immigrating to Los Angeles when he was a teenager. He attended University High School, Santa Monica City College and Cal State L.A., eventually graduating with a journalism degree. Before going to college, he served in the U.S. Army for two years and was stationed in Germany.

He wrote for the Westside section of the Los Angeles Times, the Santa Monica Evening Outlook and the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. He also worked as a volunteer in President Kennedy’s 1960 campaign and as an administrative aide to Councilman Marvin Braude. He then volunteered for Bradley, who was running for mayor.

Calleia served in various City Hall budget, management and administrative roles. He was the liaison for the 1984 Olympics, serving as the official city representative who signed Olympic Games contracts.

“I think a great deal of success in life depends on being in the right place at the right time or being able to recognize an opportunity when it presents itself,” he said in a 1973 interview with The Los Angeles Times. “In my case, in my youth, I would never have dreamed that some day I would be executive assistant to the mayor of Los Angeles.”

In his free time, Calleia built Meccano erector set models and made models of military equipment, bridges and machinery. He volunteered as an editor of the Meccano enthusiasts' international newsletter.

Calleia is survived by his wife, Sheila; daughters Victoria Bunce and Maria Calleia; and granddaughter Sam.

Maria Celleia was in Portland with her sister when she learned the news of her father's passing and drove back to Carlsbad to be with her mother.

"He always said that we never know what’s gonna be our last day," she said in an interview with The Times. "He really enjoyed every sunrise and every sunset. He was very devoted to my mom. They were married more than 62 years and he was a really great man."

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.