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Subject: Robert J. Cardoza, Board Chairman of AAA, Philanthropist

dead of cancer at 59
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Date Posted: September 29, 2002 11:41:16 EDT

Robert J. Cardoza, board chairman of the American Automobile Assn., the nation's largest automobile club, died Thursday at his Modesto home.

Cardoza joined the board of the 44-million-member AAA in 1995. He served as board secretary and vice chairman before becoming chairman last year.

Recruited because of his long experience in the banking industry, he was credited with expanding financial services for Auto Club members during his seven years with the group.

Born in Hanford, he attended Modesto Junior College and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, earning a degree in agribusiness management in 1965.

Five years later he was chief executive officer of the Modesto Production Credit Assn., a cooperative that provided short-term loans to agricultural businesses.

Between 1972 and 1979 he helped increase the co-op's membership from 250 to more than 1,500 businesses, making it the largest such association in five Western states.

He served as a top officer in several other financial institutions, including president of the Pacific Valley National Bank of Modesto. In 1995 he created Cardoza Co., a consulting and investment firm, and the Cardoza Foundation to support charities in Stanislaus County.

He previously was director and chairman of the California State Automobile Assn., an AAA affiliate.

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