The Legacy of Lloyd Monk

Lloyd Monk was both a respectful gentleman and a hardworking regular guy. He took all difficulties in his stride, and was filled with a natural core of optimism that made him a happy upbeat guy to be around. He passed away last month at the age of 90.

Lloyd loved history and enjoyed relating what he knew – and he knew and remembered everything. I remember interviewing him for my book on the Jordanos, and he (correctly) rattled off the address and phone numbers of their first three stores – from nearly 70 years earlier! Lloyd was historian for the University Club and served on my History Committee for Fiesta (he was on that board for two decades, and served as El Presidente in 1957).

I also interviewed Lloyd and his best buddy Paul “Rip” Riparetti, who had “worked” at Jordanos grocers as teenagers. It was such fun traveling back in time with them as the two gaily relived their adventures: loading watermelon into the store (“Oops! We dropped one, boss – we better eat it so it does not go to waste,” Lloyd would say); sneaking into the Sons of Italy dances; and participating in seltzer bottle fights with their other cohort, Jimmy D (James Dominic Jordano).

These three were rascals as teens. They once went off to Catalina Island, and were sunbathing in the buff, with Jimmy D napping on Wrigley’s tomb, no less. The guard came over to reprimand them, saying, “Have you no respect for the dead!” Jimmy D, on behalf of Lloyd and Rip, famously replied, “Well, we chew his gum, don’t we!”

Lloyd was very proud of his heritage in the community. He was a descendent of the Augustin Leyva family. His grandmother’s adobe was still standing into the 20th century – approximately where the city attorney’s office is – at the corner of De la Guerra and State streets.

One grandfather, Francesco Nardi, was an early Italian immigrant who built the Nardi Hotel back in the late 1800s (this building is catty-corner to City Hall). All the Italians new to town would stay at Nardi’s Hotel and receive help and advice. This Italian immigrant also had a sense of local history – he bought up the old Spanish adobes across the street, which remain in the family to this day. This adobe became the home of Lloyd’s Fine Wine and Spirits, which Lloyd and his wife, Josie (who survives him), opened in 1945, a staple in Santa Barbara for 30 years.

Lloyd impressed me with his devotion to his wife, whom he first met in junior high. Then they both worked at Jordano’s – she was the niece of his bosses (her mother was the only sister in the original Jordano family). They knew each other for 75 years as best friends and sweethearts. Several years ago when he was in a car accident, Lloyd’s biggest concern at the hospital was to call Josie at prescribed times throughout the day to make sure she was alright by herself in their home.

At Lloyd’s funeral, a number of us remarked that you could see the history of Santa Barbara down the aisles of Our Lady of Sorrows Church. Besides the extended Jordano clan – Lee Goggia Jordano, Dolly Jordano Sween, Tina Jordano Scott and John and Marcia Sween – there was a big representation of the Italian community families: Panizzon, Goggia, Borgatello, Craviotto, Talevi, Gherini, Julio Petrini, Martha Bazzi Marsango and Ed Chelini. And then there were the descendientes of the oldest family lines in Santa Barbara, such as Dennis Rickard (De La Guerra, Orena), William Russell (Ortega), Susie Parent (Cota) and J.J. Hollister.

Lloyd never had a bad word to say about others, and for 90 years, people in Santa Barbara had only respect and positive words to say about him. Lloyd Monk’s obituary in the News-Press summed up his character succinctly when it described him as “a member of the Greatest Generation.”

Lionel Morales RIP

One more untimely passing – Lionel Morales. The eldest of 15 kids, Lionel was a Santa Barbara native, but moved to Santa Maria in the 1970s. A student of the late great Jose Manero, Lionel was a wonderful dancer who started performing when he was just a kid with Jose. Old-timers would especially remember Lionel’s happy face performing at the Fiesta shows at the Courthouse, Mission and El Paseo, with his dance partners Susie Guevarra, Beverly Tuttle and Susan Greco. Some of Jose’s later dancers were just recently talking about having a reunion at the end of the year, and now Lionel’s quick smile and step will be sorely missed.

Water Water Everywhere, But Not a drop to Drink

How we take it al for granted: turn on the tap and out it flows – easy, quick, accessible, potable.

But for folks who do not have it so easy, an organization called Safe Water International Ministries brings simple technology into rural areas to disinfect water for developing communities. Local board members Wade Nomura and Larry Siegel recently took their fourth trip to Pátzcuaro, in central Mexico, to begin a new project to install potable drinking water systems in 30 primary schools. The project is likely to expand to all 72 primary schools and 11,000 primary school children in the Pátzcuaro region. They link with other organizations and here each school has a committee of parents that will put together a new network of project sponsors. Then they will be invited to sanitation workshops along with teachers and administrators. Installation of the first five school systems is scheduled for February 2007. If interested to know more or want to help, shoot a call to 705-7743 or e-mail Larry Siegel at lesiegel@cox.net.