Louis Guerrini (February 27, 1926 – November 2, 2015)
Born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 27, 1926 to Italian immigrant parents, he was the only child of Ida and Albert. He grew up in the Big Apple where he went to public school. Speaking nothing but Italian until the age of 7, he learned English along with the rest of the kids from the borough.
Growing up during the Depression, his father, a veteran of World War I, succumbed from injuries he sustained during the war. He went to live with his Uncle Jovocino in New Jersey. He grew up, like his future bride, on a farm. Yearning for adventure, he joined the U. S. Navy in 1944. He was a Veteran of both World War II and Korea, and his unit received citations for both the Bronze Star and Silver Star. He was also active in the Fleet Reserve. During his career with the Navy, he befriended George.
George later introduced him to his sister, Angelina. They were married in 1949 in Syracuse, New York. Moving around a lot with Navy was no fun. But while in Virginia, the keel was laid for their first child: a son.
When Disneyland opened on Sunday, July 17, 1955, he was one of the first people in line. Never mind the 101F/39C temp! No one had told him it was only open to celebrities on that day, (it was open to the general public the NEXT Day) but he can honestly say, he was at Disneyland, (even if it was only the parking lot,) Opening Day!
He would later be stationed in San Diego, California where they bought a home, and moved in (with cat, pregnant wife and son) on Christmas Eve Day, 1955. First one to move onto the block. A few months later, their daughter Cynthia arrived.
When he was at home, he enjoyed being with his family. He took them to see South Pacific at the Rancho Drive Inn, in 1958. One of the few times when we we’re all able to get together.
During his career in the Navy as an Aviation Electrician Chief, his last cruise aboard the Aircraft Carrier, U.S.S. Kearsarge (CVS 33), he was the lead Chief in charge of the Electrical Helicopter maintenance, for the recovery of the last of Nasa’s Mercury Missions: Gordon Cooper’s Faith 7.
He loved holidays. But especially Halloween. He created the first talking pumpkin, affectionately called: Mr. Pumpkin. Blinking lights that flickered as he talked, and a speaker at the feet. Scared the little kids. But they ALL got a treat!
After retirement from the Navy, he ran as the city of National City’s City Treasurer against Ida Mae Kerr, in the 1960‘s. 1800 votes to the incumbent’s 2200. Not bad for a rookie politician, but a master of budgeting. He wasn’t known as nickel nose for nothing!
In between jobs, he took a position as a janitor in one of the schools in the area, to support his family. His Father-in-Law was ill, so his wife journeyed back to New York. He was left in-charge of the house. Let’s just say, cooking wasn’t his forté. But they didn’t starve. He also managed to break a leg (literally) at work, while she was away. He was never put in charge of the house a second time.
One of the families’ fondest memories, is gathering around the old Black & White Raytheon Television set, and sitting down to watch perhaps the greatest movie of all time: “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s wholesome message, is not lost in today’s world.
Returning to work at North Island (Coronado, California) as a Civil Servant, he repaired Avionics for the Navy.
They had 11 people living under one roof at the same time. And only ONE bathroom. Things did get tense sometimes. But they shared fond memories of lining up to use the bathroom.
But secretly, It was all about the food! Oh the stories. Friends would gather for Pasta Fagioli, Spaghetti, or whatever Ma, George, or Grandma was cooking that day (even if it was Hot Dogs, Sauerkraut, and Pork and Beans (in ONE pot!)) Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter. Any special occasion, would find lots of friends and neighbours coming and going, and the ever present pot of coffee always brewing.
His favourite food on earth however, was Chocolate. In any shape. Any form. Any size. We all had bunny ears on Easter, that had been “tested.” He shared from his secret stash, but only if you were good!He enjoyed taking his family on picnics on a Sunday afternoon, to the beautiful Balboa Park, near the famous San Diego Zoo. They would feast on Italian goodies. Prosciutto, Copocollo, Salami, Mortadella and Provolone sandwiches, olives, and fresh-baked Italian bread. Ahh. La Vita Dolce.
In 1968, he took his family on a whirlwind vacation across the United States. For 6 very long, very hot, and very humid weeks. They traveled in the back of a camper, from California to Arizona, where his wife proclaimed herself the Desert Queen. (Not to be confused with Dairy Queen!) They finally managed to go across Texas, and onto Florida to visit friends and family. Then onto New Jersey, and New York to visit all of the relatives. They would travel through over one half of the states in the Union when it was done.
In 1969, an accident that would drastically change his life occurred. While remodeling his daughter’s playhouse into a work shed, he cut off his left index finger. He was then called “9 Finger.” Everyone thought he was Mafioso, but of course, that was part of the mystique. Turning tragedy into something laughable.
He returned to school, and got his High School Diploma in 1970, just 4 days ahead of his son.
They got a dog, a toy French Poodle, whom he named P.i.t.a. (Pain in the Ass). He loved that dog. He was a great companion for the family. Finally retirement Day in 1981. He and his wife, decided that RV life was for them. So they loaded up and truck, and off they went!
In 1985, he became a Grandpa, with the birth of his Granddaughter, Julianne. They adopted another daughter, Karen, who became an integral part of the family.
They liked RV Life, and eventually sold their house in National City, California to full time it. They became S.K.P. members, and eventually settled down in Benson, Arizona. La Vita pensionato.
He and his wife sojourned all over the world: Italy, Greece, England, Nova Scotia, Yellowstone, and Ely, Nevada. He and his wife would spend summers camp hosting there and working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s, Forestry Service.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Ann, who live in Benson, Arizona. His son Wayne, who live’s in Tucson, Arizona. Daughter Cynthia Grand Daughter Julianne, and great Grand Daughter Ri, who live in San Antonio, Texas. Life now complete.
Louis Albert Guerrini Father, Husband….Dad.