John spent his youth in Ardsley, New York, the eldest of four children born to Joe and Filomena Gagliardi. He has been heard to remark that over the years he was the only one in the family whom his mother permitted in the kitchen while she was cooking, a stroke of good fortune which perhaps lent itself to John’s own capabilities as a cook.
As a young man, John played baseball for five or six years in the Hudson Valley League, switching around infield positions, but mostly as a pitcher. During this time he allowed himself to be persuaded to go along on a blind date one evening. There he met a lively young woman named Veronica Baum, and in 1941 the two were married – a marriage that lasted seventy-three years.
Later, in New York City, John’s career took a serious turn and he spent the bulk of his working years with Chase Manhattan Bank, from where he retired in 1980.
John and Vera made a short visit to see friends in Florida in 1971, and on impulse, since their friends had invested, they bought a condominium in a building not yet under construction in a complex called Monterey Yacht and Country Club.
When he first occupied 33H a year later, John found the golf course a sorry sight, with weeds and vines complicating the fairways, but having never played before, he took up the game with help and instruction from friends. He chuckles to recall that soon he was playing better than his teachers and continued for years playing every day.
John is pleased to remember some of his hardier pursuits here: Building over fifty concrete ramps for the handicapped… Pouring concrete pads in front of the mailboxes. ..Cleaning up the mess from the tornado of 1977 … Retrieving golf balls out of the ponds … Serving on the Board for seven years and as golf course ranger for twenty-five!
Now, with a well-attended party and two huge cakes as memories of his hundredth birthday, John likes to reminisce on his life in this most unusual and marvelous spot , where the Florida sun continues to shine and friends continue to stop by.