August A. Giraldi, a longtime resident of La Canada-Flintridge, passed away peacefully at the age of 101. He led a wonderful life of accomplishment and generosity. He was known and loved for his positive attitude and his willingness to pass on his experiences in life. He was devoted to his family and to his profession and was well-loved by all fortunate to meet him.
August, or "Gus," was born in Rende, Calabria, a province of Italy on July 18, 1911. His family brought him to America when he was 10, accompanied by his two brothers. After a brief stay in New York, the family eventually settled in Chicago and went into the restaurant business. Gus worked in the family business and attended schools in the Chicago area. In 1939, he graduated from an accelerated program from Loyola Dental School, where he was a member of the Delta Sigma Delta fraternity.
It was shortly after he started his practice in Chicago that he met and married Anne Raffael, a patient of his. They were married October 5, 1941 and shortly thereafter, Dr. Giraldi joined the Army Dental Corps and served until 1944. Following his discharge, he returned to the Chicago area and opened a practice again.
Dr. Giraldi was very civic minded, loved people and believed in giving back to the community through public service. He joined a number of organizations and became the president of most of them. He enjoyed raising funds for various charities, scuh as the Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Leader Dogs for the Blind, and Iron Lungs for polio victims prior to the vaccine becoming widely used. He was awarded many commendations and recognition for his efforts. He loved the outdoors and always found time to hunt and fish every year in Minnesota with his friends until he moved to California.
In the 1960¿s Dr. Giraldi moved his family and eventually settled in La Canada among his other family members who had relocated to the area years prior. They built their home in the Alta Canyada area among the deodors which they loved. Following this move, August again showed his dedication to the community by volunteering to perform public service even as he continued his more than 50 year career in dentistry.
He was a volunteer staff member at the USC/LA County Medical Center for 16 years, performing periodontal surgery. He was an Emeritus Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry, a Life Member in the American Dental Association and a Fellow in the Royal Society of Health of Great Britain.
In continuing his public service tradition, Gus also participated with the Flying Samaritans which provided medical services to numerous communities in rural Mexico. He was a past President of both the Lion¿s Club and the San Fernando Chapter of UNICO, as well as a member of the Kiwanis and Elks Clubs. He had also been awarded the 4th Degree of the Knights of Columbus. Dr. Giraldi received the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. This was bestowed upon him based on his extensive contribution of his time, efforts and resources given toward improving human rights, conditions and social welfare in the Los Angeles area. Dr. Giraldi had also been honored with an award from the St. Joseph Medical Center for his many years of volunteer service at the Children¿s Clinic. He was also a volunteer medical staffer during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
In addition to all of these activities, he was also a gifted woodcarver who studied under the master carver, Rudy Vargus. He won many awards and ribbons for his works in statewide competitions. He also was a past Director of the California Carvers Guild. Gus left many remembrances of his skill and humor in his masterful carvings for his family.
Aside from his many accomplishments, above all Gus was a devoted family man. He was married to his beloved Anne, whom he cherished, for almost 70 years. Together, they enjoyed family activities, travel to Europe (especially Italy) and cruises to Alaska and Hawaii. They were also "snowbirds,¿ going to their vacation home in Arizona for several months each year.
Until his death, he enjoyed reading the Wall Street Journal, and watching and hoping that his beloved LA Dodgers would again win a pennant. He was always eager to discuss current events, politics and finances. He attributed his long life to good genes, healthy eating habits, his devoted family and a good night¿s sleep with a clear mind.
Dr. Giraldi is survived by his daughters Camille Gembacz and her husband Judge Gilbert T. Gembacz and Carlotta De Francisco and her husband Dr. Joseph C. De Francisco, and their children Michael (Carrie), Jeffrey (Monica) and Mark De Francisco, together with the great-grandchildren Joseph, Francesca, Elena and Sofia.
He will be remembered and missed by his family for his kindness, enduring smile, heartfelt advice, wisdom and sense of humor.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his name to the Verdugo Hills Hospital Foundation.