If you followed John Riffero around for a day, you probably wouldn’t guess that he’ll be turning 100 on July 8. He still mows his own yard and goes to the harbor almost every day to visit friends and sit in the sun. Riffero even maintains the rental properties he owns, mostly by himself, lifting his mower in and out of the 1970 VW truck that he’s owned since 1971. Riffero moved from Italy to Santa Barbara when he was 9 years old and has been here ever since. In September, he and his wife, Emma, will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary along with their two children, eight grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. The World War II veteran was also the youngest person to pass the real estate broker test in his day and has since helped many people with their taxes and immigration papers throughout the city. So what’s this soon-to-be centenarian’s secret? “Live sparingly in everything, your whole life,” he advises.
By Caitlin Fitch