Mario Longobardi of Fountain Valley California, died April 19, 2022 at age 94. He was born at home on February 22, 1928 at 855 Woodward Ave, New Haven, Connecticut to Charles and Lucy (Raffone) Longobardi. Mario was the third child of five and his late siblings include Marie, Raymond, Anna and Thaddeus.
In 1943 he attended Boardman Trade School where he was the Sports Editor of the school newspaper and wrote the column “Along the Sports Trail”. He graduated from Hillhouse High School in 1947. While there he won the Charles J. Kirshner Award for Excellence in Mechanical Drawing and Integrity of Character. It came with a cash prize of $10.00. He was extremely proud of this award.
Upon graduation in 1947 he worked full-time at Eastern Industries as a draftsman and was soon promoted to assistant chief draftsman. He was again promoted to the marketing department as a sales engineer covering the New England territory, specializing in the company’s main product, industrial pumps. He worked there for 36 years until 1981 when the company was sold.
He was one of only five Eastern employees that the buyer wanted to retain. He declined the offer and instead chose to work for March Pump Company of Chicago.
He worked for another 30 years as the California regional sales manager in charge of the 13 western states including Alaska, Hawaii and 3 provinces in Canada. He was well respected by his colleagues who always sought his expert opinion in the workplace and described him as “the most knowledgeable” in the pump industry. He attempted to retire on two separate occasions while in his 80’s but the company could not find anyone with his skills, knowledge and personality to replace him. He continued to stay on as a consultant until retiring in 2014 at the age of 86.
Mario met the love of his life, Donna Irene Penkrat, at the Annex Club in New Haven in 1954. She was a teen-ager and he was an “older” man of 26. Their eyes met from across the room. He approached her. They talked and danced the remainder of the night. At the end of the evening, he asked for her phone number and she replied, “It’s in the book.” Fortunately, he was able to find it and on their first date he picked her up in his brand-new, blue and white 1954 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. She never looked back and they were married on May 5, 1956.
Growing up in New Haven he enjoyed bowling, was an expert card player and won some high stakes games. He was such an excellent pool player that some opponents declined playing against him, knowing they could lose as he often cleared the table. He was an avid golfer and played many courses from Myrtle Beach,SC on the east coast to Torrey Pines and La Costa on the west. Mario was also a substitute high school teacher in Connecticut, having received his Teaching Credential from Southern Connecticut State College in 1968. He was interested in financial concepts and investments and was President of Eastern Industries Credit Union from 1971-1973. Mario also loved design and engineering and attended UCLA School of Engineering in 1977.
Being a life-long sports fan, in 1939 at age 11, his uncle treated Mario and his brother to their first Yankees game where he saw Joe DiMaggio. In 1980 he attended the Super Bowl at the Rose Bowl with friends from New Haven.
Mario was the sweetest, kindest man who would do anything for you. He was a beloved husband, father, and friend. His quick wit and generous heart drew everyone in and all who knew him, loved him. He cherished an Italian cannoli, loved anything lemon and of course never met a blueberry pie he didn’t like. He has left a lasting impression on those lucky enough to know him and will be missed and loved by the Longobardi clan. He is survived by his wife Donna (Penkrat) Longobardi, and his four children, son (Mark) Charles of Fountain Valley, son Peter and his wife Marysol, granddaughter Laura, her husband Nathan, great grand-daughter Camila Dunn of Orange, daughter Deirdre and her husband Robert Murray of Huntington Beach and Donna Lynn Longobardi of Connecticut.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mario George Longobardi, please visit our floral store.