Leonard Savala, founder of Savala Equipment Company, passed away in late May of 2021. He is survived by his wife Kathleen of 59 years, six children, Cathy Reynolds, Leonard Savala Jr., Erin Oskorus, Sean Savala, Shannon Savala, Kelley Dyer, and sixteen grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. Leonard had a private burial and was laid to rest on June 2, 2021.
Leonard was always a firm believer in integrity and hard work – working as many as three jobs at one time. While Leonard was working as general superintendent for Oswald Bros., his father became ill and could not run his company, George Savala Paving. Leonard attempted to help by working for both companies for several months. Soon after, Leonard took over George Savala Paving full time, and through countless hours of hard work and perseverance, he was able to turn the company around.
He founded Savala Construction in 1961 and turned to underground construction. Leonard made the company successful through a solid work ethic, honesty, and treating everyone with respect. He was always around to grab a shovel, hop on a machine, or map out a job with a foreman. In the early 1960s, Leonard began using the trademark Savala “white cab” to be able to tell his equipment and trucks from those of other contractors.
During this busy time, Leonard met the love of his life Kathleen in Westchester, California. They started a family soon after and eventually settled in Villa Park. In 1978, he decided to expand the business by forming Savala Equipment Company. As the business grew, it became a family affair, with five of his children and three of his grandchildren currently working for the company
In the late ’70s, Leonard and Kathleen created Villa Park Farms and began breeding and showing Morgan Horses to keep the family close and teach their kids responsibility and teamwork. The family travelled the California circuit and ended the season at Oklahoma City for Nationals, with many of their horses being named National Champions in the early ’80s.
Through the years, Leonard continued to advocate for the construction industry as a member of several industry groups, including Associated General Contractors of California, the Engineering Contractors’ Association and the Southern California Contractors Association.
He won numerous awards from these organizations, including the 2000 Businessman of the Year, 1998 Contractor Achievement Award, and 1980 Contractor of the Year. Leonard was also active in the community, serving as the Industry and Commerce Chairman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Fund Raiser Chair for Canyon Acres Abused Children’s Home.
Leonard and Kathy enjoyed regular getaways to Indian Wells, fine dining, and spending time with family the past few years. Leonard continued to trade in the stock market and remained actively involved in Savala Equipment Company’s operations, buying and selling equipment. He was the true patriarch of the Savala family and is greatly missed by his family.
In Leonard’s memory, you may send a contribution to St. Joseph Hospital Foundation or Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).