Armando Peduzzi has been through a lot in his 92 years on Earth.
The Italian native’s adventures and tragedies started early. His father died when Peduzzi was just a boy. He ended up living in an orphanage in Milan. When he turned 11, his 33-year-old sister showed up at the orphanage and took him home.
Times were troubled back then. During World War II, Peduzzi’s sister went out to buy some groceries. She boarded a city bus. German planes swooped over the city. They strafed the bus, killing Peduzzi’s sister, a civilian.
Eventually, Peduzzi moved to the United States. His brother, already in the States, lined up a job as a chef for him. Peduzzi settled in Quincy, Massachusetts. He got tired of the food service industry and got a job at the Boston Gear Company. He was a final assembly man. Peduzzi was proud to hold that job for 15 years.
He spent another 15 years working at Milton’s, a clothing store. When he finally retired, the owner of Milton’s wrote a letter that called Peduzzi “always productive and full of fun and good spirit.”
In 1948, Peduzzi married a woman named Celia. She died in 2013, after a 60-year marriage. Peduzzi still misses her painfully. He calls her “a saint.”
So that’s Peduzzi’s pre-retirement life.
Now that he’s an old man, living in a retirement community in Quincy, Peduzzi has new priorities. He watches television. Often, a news report will share the story of a child with an illness or disability. Those stories affected Peduzzi deeply.
“The children I watch on TV have all kinds of problems,” he told the Patriot Ledger. “Cancer, a limb missing. And it hit me so hard. I think I want to do something for him.”
Peduzzi thought about what brings him joy: vibrant colors and whimsical images. He bought a set of paints and brushes. Then Peduzzi began to transform his apartment into an artist’s studio. Today, his apartment is home to dozens and dozens of bright, cheerful images, all painted by hand by this amazing man and artist.
“I invented a way of painting to inspire the kids,” Peduzzi said. “They can dream about, they make up things. Children have their own world.”
Jack O’Brien lives at Squantum Gardens, the retirement community that Peduzzi calls home.
“His paintings are done in vivid colors with a lot of figures to inspire the kids’ imagination,” O’Brien told the Patriot Ledger. “Birds, butterflies, clouds, trees, flowers, sailboats — a collage designed to demand a longer look and thought. Children see things we don’t see. They dream. They make-believe. They imagine.”
Peduzzi knows that his paintings are a bit out there. His scenes “don’t exist, but the kids love this stuff,” he said. “My dream is to go to the hospital and donate it to those poor kids.”
These days, Peduzzi gets around with a cane.
In 1999, when he was 75, a milk truck backed up and crushed his against a nearby car. That injury isn’t going anywhere.
But Peduzzi is still full of life. He cooks all of his own meals. He even keeps a chef’s hat in his kitchen so he can relive his days at the restaurant. He also enjoys visits from his many friends and his daughter.
“I think you’ll find my father has had a pretty incredible life,” Peduzzi’s daughter, Amanda Nolan, said.
No argument here. At 92 years old, this inspirational man is still doing his best to help children who need a splash of color in their lives.
“I hope I can make them happy and see them smile,” Peduzzi said, gesturing to his paintings. “This and this and this — that’s for the kids.”