Ernest Joseph Velardi Jr.

Ernest Joseph Velardi Jr.

December 13, 1924 - October 18, 2019
Laguna Niguel CA

Ernest Joseph Velardi Jr.

December 13, 1924 - October 18, 2019
Laguna Niguel CA



Ernest J. Velardi, independent artist, retired Professor of Art, California State University, Northridge has died. He was 94 years old. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, December 1924, he was the son of Ernest and Rose Velardi both first generation children of Italian immigrants.

Velardi resided in New Haven until March of 1943 when he enlisted in the US Navy. Upon completing Boot Camp at Lake Seneca, NY, he was ordered to Washington, DC, where he studied one year at the US School of Music before assignment to a Navy Band as a musician 3rd  class.

The band spent 2 1/3 years in the South Pacific with assignments between Hawaii and Guam. Honorable discharge occurred at Bainbridge, Maryland. Velardi was a musician 2nd  class; the date was March of 1947. Discharge was followed by a period of uncertain planning for a future, but with assistance provided by Veterans Administration Counseling and Testing. Velardi embarked an education in the Visual Arts aided by the GI Bill. He became accepted into the program at the Whitney School of Art, a professional art school located in New Haven; the year was 1948.

But after a semester of study at Whitney and with encouragement offered by a sincere instructor; Velardi made application to the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana.

Although applicants from out of state were being denied admission at that time, with significant help by an esteemed friend and student at the University, Velardi gained admission to the Department of Art and into a program leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in Painting. His degree was earned Cum Laude. The year was 1952.

In that same year he entered the graduate program with study toward a Master of Fine Arts degree aided by a Graduate Teaching Assistantship. Also in that significant year; Velardi met and courted Lena Perri also a Graduate Teaching Assistantship earning units toward a Masters Degree with a major in Italian. He interrupted his studies to wed Lena in Akron, Ohio, home of Lena’s parents and family. The month was June, the year was 1952.

Ernest and Lena enjoyed a 3-month honeymoon in Europe returning in time to make a “home” of an attic apartment in Cincinnati, Ohio and to begin life and careers together.

Lena’s beginning at the College of Mount Saint Joseph as a lay Instructor of the Spanish language. Ernest as a part-time instructor of studio art at Western College, Oxford, Ohio. Five happy years were lived in Cincinnati during which time Ernest finished his MFA while exhibiting his paintings successfully. The part-time appointment became full-time allowing a welcome move to more comfortable space. Summer recess provided the Velardi’s time to travel eventually to California where they discovered growing opportunities to teach in the developing State College System. Ernest applied to several state colleges resulting in an interview by a recruiting State College President visiting the Ohio State University campus in Columbus. The year was 1956. A favorable recommendation was sent back to Los Angeles whereupon Ernest was offered a teaching position in the Department of Art, Los Angeles State College, San Fernando Valley Campus – a collection of bungalows shortly to become San Fernando Valley State College, later California State University, Northridge. He was appointed Assistant Professor; the year was 1957. Velardi’s artistic career continued with awards, with exhibitions of his work while Mrs. Velardi enjoyed teaching positions at Canoga High School, Monroe High School, California State University, Northridge, LA Valley College from where she retired as a full Professor of Foreign Languages.

The year was 1989 when Velardi retired from CSUN continuing his activities as an independent artist. He continued to teach accepting invitations from various societies to conduct workshops for water media painters. These assignments took him and Mrs. Velardi to various parts of the United States as did invitations to lecture, to act as a juror for national competitions open to water media painters. His life as an artist/painter and teacher were thoroughly fulfilling as all who know him recognized.

Ernest Velardi is predeceased by his wife, “Lee”; survived by daughter Gina, son Michael as well as grandchildren Evelyn and Tai Velardi.

In lieu of flowers please make donations to Holy Family Adoption Services at PO Box 26368 Los Angeles, Ca 90026. A Mass will be said at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Northridge, Sat. Nov. 16 at 10:30 am. Interment will follow at Oakwood Cemetery, Chatsworth.


Vigil Service

  • Date & Time: November 15, 2019 (2:00 PM)
  • Venue: O'Connor Mortuary
  • Location: 25301 Alicia Parkway Laguna Hills, CA 92653 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (949) 581-4300


  • Date & Time: November 16, 2019 (10:00 AM - 10:30 AM)
  • Venue: Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic Church - Northridge
  • Location: 18400 Kinzie Street Northridge, CA 93125 - (Get Directions)

Funeral Mass

  • Date & Time: November 16, 2019 (10:30 AM)
  • Venue: Our Lady Of Lourdes Catholic Church - Northridge
  • Location: 18400 Kinzie Street Northridge, CA 93125 - (Get Directions)

Graveside Service

  • Date & Time: November 16, 2019 (12:30 PM)
  • Venue: Oakwood Memorial Park
  • Location: 22600 Lassen Street Chatsworth, CA 91311 - (Get Directions)

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6 responses to Ernest Joseph Velardi Jr.

  1. ANGELO PERR says:

    A Wonderful life, well lived, a true asset to the human race. Ernie saw the beauty in life and always looked for the best in people and overlooked their shortcomings…He is now with my Sister Lena Perri Velardi. I was privileged to be a member of their wedding in 1952….ANGELO PERRI COLONEL US ARMY RET.

  2. Dear Velardi family
    My parents (Elaine and Medill Bienenfeld) and your parents were friendly through their “Carpinteria” connection. I remember your mom and Dad well as I was often there with my daughter. My mom just passed away this year also at 91. I have one of Ernie’s paintings that I got from my moms house and enjoy it every day. Please accept our condolences on your fathers passing.

    Julie Bienenfeld

  3. Paddy Lamb says:

    I had the great good fortune to meet Ernest in 2002 when he came to Alberta to teach an art class. His encouragement and criticism played a major part in convincing me to become a full-time painter. For over 15 years we wrote to each other, jousting over difficulties, directions, techniques, and the vagaries of life. We did not always agree but I think that was what he wanted. Always at pains to tell me that I should feel free to ignore his observations I wrestled with them in the studio and cherished the interest he showed. I will miss him deeply but I hope his intellect and spirit will always be somewhere close by.

    Paddy Lamb

  4. Karl Schwarm says:

    What a great man, father, husband, artist and all around human being. Ernie was my godfather, my “Italian” godfather. He was truly a second father to me while growing up. He and his wonderful wife Lee and kids Gina and Michael were truly family. All my memories as a kid growing up include Ernie and the Velardi family….and they are in all the family photos as well! Ernie was a big part of my early life culminating with me taking his art class at CSUN. Can you imagine being the professors godson, and you know Ernie, everyone in the class knew it! But what a blast it that semester was….thank god artistic talent runs in the family and yes I got an A. Although I didn’t see much of Ernie or the Velardi’s after leaving home, he lives on in my heart and mind and will never be forgotten. May you rest in peace my Italian Godfather and enjoy your reunion with Lee, Harold and Margret.

  5. I met Earnest Velardi in 2001 as he was the guest juror and workshop instructor for the NWWS Open Exhibition. What a delight he was to work with. He was generous with his time and gave great encouragement to artists. He maintained a long communication with me as he invited artists to continue to dialogue with him about their work. I still treasure his letters. He hosted my husband and myself to a wonderful lunch at his home when we were in southern CA. He called me when he heard my husband passed in 2003 and continued to offer his friendship over the years. All who were privileged to have known him are blessed. He will be missed but never forgotten. I am sure he is enjoying unparalleled joys as he is now with his Lord and Savior and all those treasured ones who passed before him.

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