The Patterson High School alumnus was born on Dec. 21, 1919 in Patterson and graduated with the class of 1939. He then joined the U.S. Army. In 1944 he served in Europe during World War II. He was assigned to the 17th Base Post Office handling mail for the Normandy Invasion of France.
Upon returning to Patterson after the war Azevedo served with the reserves until being recalled for active duty in 1948 to occupy Japan at the Eight Army Headquarters in Yokohama. In 1949 he was assigned to Tokyo at the General Headquarter Far East Command. In the Korean War, Azevedo served as staff postal officer within the 10th Army Corps and supervised operations during the Inchon landing.
Following the Korean War, he served at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana, but in 1953 he did one last tour in Japan when he was assigned to the XVI and IX Corps in Japan.
He later served as the head of the Army and Air Force Postal Service at the Pentagon in Washington D.C from 1957-1960. Then from 1960-1962 he was sent overseas to serve at the Adjutant General’s Office, United States Army in Europe Hiedelberg, Germany before serving at the Presidio in San Francisco.
Azevedo retired with honors from the military in 1966 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was awarded two Bronze Stars for meritorious service against an armed enemy, three Army Commendation Medals, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the United Nations Medal for his service in Korea. The mayor of Antwerp, Belgium also recognized Azevedo for his work during the V-bombing attack of that city during World War II.
“I have millions of words to say about him, but I don’t know if I could put it into words,” said long-time friend and former mayor of Patterson Wade Bingham. “He was loyal to the city, and loyal to the country. He was proud of what he had done.”
One of the Patterson Township Historical Society’s seven founding charter members, later becoming a life member, Azevedo soon became vice president and museum curator for over 20 years.
Azevedo was instrumental in keeping the Center Building open and maintained by the city of Patterson, which at one point wanted to tear the building down.
Azevedo was appointed to serve on the Patterson Planning Commission and eventually became the chairman. In 1972, along with other community members, Azevedo advocated that Patterson change to the city manager form of government. He later served on the city council from 1975 until 1978.
In 1982, Azevedo was voted Patterson Citizen of the year and was again recognized in 2011 with the Eusebio “Sam” Cuellar Community Service Award. Additionally, he had his own award named after him—the John V. Azevedo Volunteer of the Year Award—by the Patterson-Westley Chamber of Commerce.
In 1997 a resolution was adopted by the California State Assembly citing Azevedo for his numerous contributions he made to his community and nation. He was introduced on the floor of the Assembly by then assemblymen Dennis Cardoza, who later commended Azevedo in front of the House of Representatives.
In 2003 the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors recognized him for his civic contributions. Later that year the Patterson Historical Society, the City of Patterson and citizens gathered to praise Azevedo’s commitment and service to the community.
Azevedo is universally known as a genuinely loyal and caring patriot and neighbor. “Mr. Azevedo was very generous both to the city and the Portuguese community,” said Helen Melo-Flowers, a friend of Mr. Azevedo for almost 40 years. Along with her mother Beatriz Melo they served meals to Mr. Azevedo for nearly 10 years. “He is going to be missed a lot.”
“He was a very brilliant and caring individual—very caring individual—no matter who it was,” said Mimi Draper a neighbor and friend of Azevedo. “Very well received in this town and a very-liked neighbor.”
The Patterson Planning Commission honored Azevedo one last time during the July 24 meeting, which highlighted his long list of services to and accomplishments with the city of Patterson. Resolution 2014-02 was hand-delivered to Azevedo before his death Friday morning.
A funeral Mass for Lt. Col. John V. Azevedo will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 31 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Patterson.
Contact Erick Torres at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.