Regino R. "Papi" Melendez of Washington Terrace celebrated his 85th birthday in the company of his family, friends and neighbors on Sept. 7.
He was born on Sept. 7, 1927, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
He is married to Loretta Melendez. He has two sons and three grandsons. His oldest son and his wife are Juan Melendez and Michelle Robbins. Their children are Christopher Melendez and Gabriel Melendez. His youngest son and his wife are Clemente and Rebecca Melendez; their son is Benicio Regino Melendez.
He enjoys cooking. Among others, his specialities include arroz con gandules, bacalao, Tostones, Menudo and chile verde. He ushers the congregation at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, where he has been a member for almost 40 years. He keeps busy by taking long morning walks, doing yard work, house projects, taking care of family, and playing with his grandson Benicio and his little buddy and neighbor Cooper Burnett. He enjoys making people laugh, and has been known to spontaneously bust out into a fun-spirited song and dance.
He worked for the Internal Revenue Service for 20 years. Other positions have included employment with Kennecott Copper Mines, the National Guard and the U.S. Postal Service.
Of all his achievements, his family says they are most proud of his 20 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, including two tours in Vietnam. A retired gunnery sergeant, he says he is a proud Marine and Semper Fidelis 100 per cent of the way.