By Steven Piper
Signal Hill has lost a longtime resident and dedicated city employee.
Antonio (Tony) Andaya passed away on Friday, May 20, in Long Beach Memorial Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit at approximately 9:55pm, a week after falling off a ladder while doing yard work at his house. The husband and father of one was trying to trim a tree branch that prevented him from parking his car in the driveway when he lost his balance and hit his head on the ground. The cause of death was a brain hemorrhage.
Andaya is survived by his son James and wife Betty, to whom he was married for 46 years. He also had seven siblings: Salvador Andaya, Salvacion Morado, Norma Andaya, Isabelita Andaya, Teresita Andaya, Ida Andaya, and Corazon Andaya.
The respected local figure was born May 4, 1934, in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, where his parents Isabel and Pamplino Mariscal raised him. After receiving his bachelor of arts degree in accounting from the University of Santo Tomas, Andaya worked as a manager for the Industrial Lumber Company in Manila. It was in a convenience store across the street from the company’s headquarters that he first met his wife.
The husband and father moved to the US to make a better life for his family, but before doing so, he worked in landscaping, at McDonalds, and at Jacks E. Gentry and Associates Accounting Firm. By the time his wife and son joined him in the US, he had a car and an apartment waiting for them.
The majority of the city servant’s career was spent with the City of Signal Hill’s department of maintenance, where he worked for 20 years. He also worked in Signal Hill’s library for 17 years. “He loved the people here. He did not have a bad thing to say about anything or anyone,” his son James said. After getting promotions from his work with the city, he was able to retire from his other jobs and eventually bought a house on Orange Avenue in 1970. His son is still living in the same house.
Some of Andaya’s hobbies were playing bingo and betting on the ponies at the Santa Anita and Los Alamitos race tracks. Watching I Love Lucy was another favorite pastime of his.
According to James, his father had a talent for dishing out one-liners and making people laugh, even if they were complete strangers. Among his favorite comedians were Mickey Rooney, Dean Martin, and Bob Hope. He had an old-school sense of humor, which touched everyone he came in contact with. James, now 43, recalls his dad recently telling him, “C’mon, just let me buy you some ice cream,” after James’s bad day at work.
Retired Signal Hill City Librarian Carole Molloy worked with Andaya for many years. “Everyone always commented on how good the library looked,” Molloy said. “He was the one that greeted everyone with a smile when they came into the library.” James said that as a child he used to be in the library to use the printer when he would observe people coming in and asking if his father was there because they wanted him to make them laugh.
A final viewing will take place Sunday, May 30 from 4pm to 8pm with a 6:30pm rosary. Mass will be Tuesday, June 1 at 9am, followed by the burial, which will be Tuesday, June 1 at 10am. All three services will be at All Souls Mortuary at 4400 Cherry Ave.
By Steven Piper