A key member of the San Gabriel Valley environmental movement has died. Wilfred “Wil” Baca, known for spearheading a successful community protest against the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts’ twin garbage burners in Hacienda Heights during the 1980s, lost a battle with Parkinson’s disease and, most recently, lung cancer on March 29. He was 65. “Wil was truly a major player in the entire San Gabriel Valley environmental movement for years,” said Jeff Schenkel, who runs a public relations firm in San Dimas. “He helped us on at least two efforts I was personally involved in – one when a toxic plant moved next door to my child’s elementary school, and the other, a proposed garbage burner at the Spadra Landfill” on the Walnut-Pomona border. Baca, who lived in Hacienda Heights until he retired to Las Cruces, N.M., in 2001, galvanized a nascent green movement in the Valley during the 1980s and 1990s. Many in government and private life credit him with stopping the trash incineration plants on grounds they would spoil the air, and for helping shut down Spadra Landfill, the Azusa Landfill and BKK Landfill in West Covina. He is also survived by his mother, Margaret Baca; brothers Glenn and Rudy Baca; and sisters Jeannette Brutcher and Pam Speer, all of Las Cruces. He was buried Monday adjacent to his father’s grave site. Family members ask that memorial gifts be made to the National Parkinson Foundation Inc., 1501 NW 9th Ave., Miami, Fla., 33136. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2237160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“He leaves behind cleaner air, cleaner water probably for several million residents … all directly due to his efforts,” said Schenkel, who is also a former senior public information specialist with the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Baca and other members of the Hacienda Heights community formed the “Dump The Dump” group that lobbied against expansion of the Puente Hills Landfill. Dr. Forest Tennant, founder of the San Gabriel Valley Lincoln Club and a former mayor of West Covina, said Baca’s passion and analytical mind made people take notice when he spoke. “Wil was clearly the environmental leader in the movement, not only with waste, but also with clean water. He was the person who got the rest of us involved,” Tennant said. Baca is survived by his wife, Martha Baez-Baca; sons Alberta Baez-Baca and Wilfred (Willie) Ruben Baca; daughter Mariah Stephanie Baca; and mother- in-law Francisca Castillo Soriano.