Orlando "Olie" Tafoya February 26, 1931 - October 20, 2011 Orlando passed away peacefully at his home in Manhattan Beach with his family by his side after a long battle resulting from a stroke six years ago. He leaves behind his wife of 56 years, Wilma; son Matthew (Nancy); daughters Meg McLaughlin (Dennis), Juliet Geraci (Steven) and Michele Vandersall (Mark); and grandchildren Amelia, Daniel, and Ian Geraci and Tyler and Olivia Vandersall. He also leaves behind his beloved brothers and sisters Della, Cruz, Rosella, Viola, Gertrude and Albert; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Cruz and Faustina; his sisters Andrea and Sista; and brother Diego. Born in Monticello, New Mexico, Olie moved to San Francisco at age 12. He was an avid athlete, participating in both track and field and football in high school. He attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he obtained a degree in engineering and met, courted and married Wilma. After graduating, he moved to Manhattan Beach and began his lifelong career in the aerospace industry. He worked on NASA's Apollo 11 program, among many others. He continued to participate actively in sports, both as a coach to many of his children's Little League and Boys and Girls Basketball teams, as well as playing competitive racquetball and golf, where he excelled and won a number of local competitions. He remained active after his retirement, playing golf, traveling with his family, and cheering on the San Francisco 49ers. His mischievous humor was evident throughout his career, retirement and final years. He loved his family above all else and will be greatly missed by those who knew him. Family and friends are invited to attend visitation on Thursday, October 27, from 1 to 4 p.m. at White & Day Mortuary, 3512 Sepulveda Boulevard, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266. Funeral Mass on Friday, October 28, 2 p.m. at American Martyrs Church, 624 15th Street, Manhattan Beach, CA, 90266. A reception and celebration of his life will follow the service in the church hall. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Orlando Tafoya Family Scholarship Fund at the UC Berkeley College of Engineering, 201 McLaughlin Hall # 1722, Berkeley, CA 94720-1722.

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  1. My father was absolutely the best kind of dad a child could hope to have. He was supportive of everything we ever took an interest in. He told me to “enjoy the stresses of life, too, as it’s all part of the big picture.” He was a happy man, enjoyed his family and enjoyed his friends. It is difficult for those of us left behind, but his life recently was so restricted and not one which suited him at all. I feel happy he is free of the body that kept him from walking, golfing and playing with his grandchildren. Today, I dont say “goodbye”, I say, “daddy, you are with me always and forever, and I will see you again. I know you love me, and I love you.”

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