A Place to Call Home: Celebrating number 99 with Michael Loffredo

A Place to Call Home: Celebrating number 99 with Michael Loffredo
Michael Loffredo celebrates his 99th birthday Oct. 30 surrounded by relatives, friends and neighbors. Courtesy photo

On Oct. 30 Michael Loffredo celebrated his 99th birthday surrounded by relatives, friends and neighbors.   Mike, as many fondly call him, started his long interesting life in Providence, Rhode Island. Graduating from high school in 1938, his education continued to include a bachelor’s degree from Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.

He served in the U.S. Air force from 1941 to 1945 and upon discharge furthered his college education and returned to teaching.

He was one of the first teachers at Arroyo High School in El Monte, Calif., and in 1969 he was nominated chairman of the Science Department. Well liked by his students, he received many letters thanking him for making learning interesting and enjoyable. He retired from teaching in 1977.

He migrated to La Puente, Calif., and while taking post graduate classes at San Diego State University, traveling Coast Highway in pre-freeway days, he discovered the then sleepy community of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and since his wife had always wanted to live near the water, they purchased two lots, one where he presently resides and the other in Encinitas.

Because he wanted rental income, he patterned the house after another duplex on the street and participated in the actual construction.

Mike says he doesn’t really have hobbies but is very interested in reading and he is a life member of the Friends of the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library. When quizzed about his favorite foods, he said: “I like everything.”

He never had children but I know he would have been a super father.

I have known him for more than 30 years and know him to be an extremely positive person who doesn’t lose his temper.   He has never smoked but does enjoy his daily glass of wine, which I am sure contributes to his longevity.

A man of many talents, he has worked as a handyman, accumulating friends that have enjoyed his expertise when things weren’t working properly. Keeping busy was the name of the game for Mike.

Many years ago when the Cardiff Chamber had Taste of Cardiff in Glen Park, Mike and I worked the Friends of the Library booth selling lemonade. It was a memorable day, laughing while supplementing the Friends’ treasury.

Friend and neighbor Jim Schuck says, “I have known Mike since since April of 2005, when my then roommate offered to assist Mike (at 88 years young) with his roofing job I recall saying to Mike ‘What the heck are you doing on your roof?’ I believe he responded by saying, ‘because I can, it needs work!’

Neighbors Gerry and Eiko Stefanko offered the following:

“My wife and I have been friends with Michael Loffredo for more than 37 years. In addition to being a fun, loyal friend with a great sense of humor, Michael has been our mentor as well. We first met in 1979 when I was working on a construction project outside our home and he came over to offer help. Over the years, he has continued to provide us with all kinds of advice and support in construction, electricity, plumbing and kind assistance whenever we have had a home project underway. We will always be happy to return his kindness whenever he needs a helping hand and will continue to do so in the coming years.”

Rumor has it that he is a bit of a flirt — which is neither confirmed nor denied by this columnist — but I do know that his cheery disposition and every ready smile touches everyone he meets and adds a positive flavor to our Cardiff-by-the-Sea, the place we love to call home.

A founding and life member as well as past president and current board member of the Friends of the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library, Irene has lived here since 1982.

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