Nick Virgallito, a longtime resident of the Crescenta Valley, celebrated his 100th birthday at Mountview Retirement where he resides.
Nick was born on Sept. 5, 1915 to Italian immigrants who settled in Ohio. At 18 years old he came to the Crescenta Valley with the Civilian Conservation Corps to build roads and check dams in local mountains. The men were stationed in Earl Canyon at the top of Palm Drive in La Cañada.
While there he fought the great Pickens Fire of November 1933. On New Year’s Day 1934 he and other men found themselves digging for victims of the terrible flood that ravaged the Montrose area.
Several months later his CCC company returned to Ohio but Nick had fallen in love with the Crescenta Valley. In 1939 he returned with his new bride and built a home in La Cañada. There he raised a family of four children who attended local schools. In later years Nick could always be counted on to give a historical perspective of the changing Crescenta Valley.
Nick worked for 37 years at Lockheed Aircraft before he retired. He was a flight inspector on such noted projects as the P-38, F-104 and PV-2 Neptune. He also worked the well-known “Skunk Works” on the U-2 and the SR-71 Blackbird projects where he spent much of his time at the secretive Area 51.
Nick and his wife Mary were very active in the community. He was an avid hiker always taking groups of youth into the Arroyo Seco between Mt. Wilson and the present site of JPL. He was active in the Knights of Columbus and a choir member at Holy Redeemer Church. He was scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop No. 7 and helped out with the early Montrose Christmas Parades and other community activities.