SARASOTA (WWSB) - Ron Soto says he has big shoes to fill.
“He had a great life, liked to travel, had a motor home, traveled through Europe. He lacked for nothing. Had a good time.”
Soto’s talking about his father, Fred Soto Senior, who passed away Monday at the age of 83.
“He was ambitious, loving...I’m sure some people didn’t like him, I just never met one. Any chance to make a better life for himself and our family, he did," Ron Soto said.
Ron provided us a biography that says his father was born in Tampa in 1935 and moved to Sarasota in 1959. He bought an optical store on Pineapple Avenue, changed the name to Fred E. Soto Opticians and expanded it to nine stores between Bradenton and Punta Gorda. Voters elected Soto to Sarasota City Commission in 1969 where he served 12 years. His fellow-commissioners appointed him to Vice Mayor and later Mayor. In 1981, the Sarasota County Chamber of Commerce named him the first Small Businessman of the Year. Fred was the beloved husband of Sylvia D. Soto, his wife of 65 years. He leaves behind two sons, Fred Jr. (Carlyn); Ronald (Kim); three granddaughters and two sisters. He was an avid golfer and loved to travel.
Ron says the family is planning a celebration of life after Thanksgiving.