After surviving two world wars, raising a family of six and serving at the for 45 years, former long-time Port Washington resident Michael Villani enjoyed his greatest accomplishment yet – celebrating his 100th birthday on Tuesday.
At a party thrown by his family and the staff at his new residence, the Bristal Assisted Living Community of North Hills, Vallini was surrounded by friends and family and honored for his service to the Post Office as well as to his community.
“I don’t know why God made me this way,” said Villani, who had served as Postmaster at the Port Washington branch. “But I feel happy when I help somebody."
In his lifetime, Villani has supported his mother and siblings when needed, and cared for his mother as best he could until she passed away from diabetes.
And in the workplace, he formed strong bonds that have spanned decades. One former co-worker, Blanche Klick of Greenvale, attended the party to wish Villani a happy birthday. Villani had hired Klick as a switchboard operator back in 1968.
“It was great working with him,” Klick said. “He was great. He was the kindest one in the Post Office.”
Villani was also joined at the party by his younger brother, Jimmy Villani, as well as many nieces and nephews.
One niece, Fran Villani, described Michael Villani as a "great uncle," adding, “He was always there. He was a guardian angel.”
“He is an amazing, strong, very loving man who loves God,” said Joan Gargaglione, his goddaughter.
"He's incredible, he has the best spirit," said Carol Villani, his niece and Port Washington resident. "There isn't a mean bone in his body."
Though Michael Villani still attends exercise classes regularly and was an avid gardener until the age of 96, he, and many others, attribute his longevity to the love and care of his girlfriend, Marie DeVito.
Villani was already living at the Bristal for a year before Marie DeVito moved there. “When she walked in the front door, I said, ‘Dear God, you’ve sent me an angel!’” he noted. From that moment, the couple grew closer until they became nearly inseparable. They’ve been together for five years.
“If not for her, he wouldn’t be here,” said Charlotte Rudich, a friend of the two and resident at the Bristal. “She’s the love of his life.”
Villani shared his gratitude to his party guests, for showing their love for him on his birthday.
“God bless everybody,” he said in the closing of his speech. “I love all of you. Have a little faith in me.”