Santa Barbara Couple Celebrates 80 Years of Marriage

John and Emma Riffero Met on Carpinteria Beach in the Summer of 1939

John and Emma Riffero recently celebrated eight decades of marriage. | Credit: Courtesy

John and Emma Riffero celebrated 80 years of marriage this month, their daughter Norma Jean is proud to report. Their secret to a long and lasting union? “Respect, working hard as a team, and total commitment.”

John, 105, graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1934 and fought in World War II before becoming a Realtor. He was the youngest person in California to earn his broker license at the time. Emma, 99, served as the first executive secretary of the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County.

The two met on Carpinteria Beach in the summer of 1939. They married in Emma’s hometown of Dunsmuir before settling in Santa Barbara, where John was raised. They’ve lived in the same house since. The couple has a son, a daughter, eight grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

“Everything in moderation” is the key to longevity, John says.


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