Pietro Luciano Miotto was born on September 26th, 1927 in Arba, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, Italia to Vittorio and Elena Miotto. He lived on the family farm for the first six years of his life, which laid the groundwork for his love of gardens, full of fig trees and roses, snails and birds.
The poor crop yields and economic situation in Arba separated Papa from his father at age 1, when Nonno Vittorio left Italy for America on October 16th, 1928, and from his mother at age 2, when Nonna Elena also left for the Port of New York on September 5th, 1930.
Papa was reunited with his parents when he arrived in New York on the SS Vulcania on October 4th, 1934, exactly 86 years to the day before he died. This was the time of the Great Depression in America, which was responsible for the family’s repeated moves in search of work. Nonno Vittorio worked in coal mines, steel mills, masonry, and apartment maintenance in places such as West Virginia; New York City; Gary, Indiana;
and Florida, while Nonna Elena worked as a seamstress, and in housekeeping and apartment maintenance. Papa often helped his parents in their work. His brother Robert was born when Papa was 8 years old. The family lived through these many moves and occasional evictions, which led to Papa attending multiple schools before graduating with honors from his high school in Florida. He would go to the train stations and wait for
the New York Times Sunday edition to arrive, feeding his curious mind further. He learned not only his native Friulan dialect, but Italian, English and Spanish over the years. These early experiences had a major impact on his big soul and on his lifelong passion for human and civil rights.
Papa enlisted in the Navy from 1945-1948, working in electricity and radar in Morocco. He then attended Manhattan College on the GI Bill from 1948-1952. It was during this time that he met the beautiful love of his life, Fiorella Scopazzi, at a tennis match between Italy and Australia, where he overheard her speaking Italian. Fiorella renamed Pietro “Piero”, and he also came to be known to some as Peter. During their courtship
he attended medical school at SUNY Downstate from 1952-1956. Piero and Fiorella married on June 9th, 1956. Papa did his general medical internship at St Vincent’s Hospital in NY.
In 1957, Piero and Fiorella moved to Long Beach, California, where they would live for 59 years, moving from Atlantic Ave, to 10th Place, to their beloved home of 55 years at 3610 Brayton Ave. Between 1958 and 1971, Piero and Fiorella’s six children were born: Gabriella, Marisa, Marco, Peter, Philip, and Micaela. The Miotto home was always full of delicious Italian food and drink, music, heady conversation, family and friends, and,
despite Papa’s concerns about animal-borne diseases, a menagerie of pets. The garden was filled with roses, wisteria, bougainvillea, figs, avocados, grapefruits, Santa Rosa plums, and more.
With time, the Miotto family expanded through marriages: Marco with Tricia, and their children Kerryn, Matthew, Alexandra, Michael and Grace; Peter with Mary Beth, and their sons Jimmy and Joey; Philip with Margarita, and their children Jacob, Maia, and Dylan, and now Philip’s partner Lisa; and Micaela with John, and their children Giulia, Michael, and Gessica. Papa was so proud of his 13 grandchildren!
Over the years, Papa worked as a family physician at St Mary’s Hospital in Long Beach, Gallatin Medical Group in Downey, the Long Beach Public Health Department, and The Children’s Clinic, and was beloved by his patients. He taught family medicine residents at Harbor General Hospital for years. He retired in 1999 from active practice but remained medically astute by attending Grand Rounds at Harbor-UCLA well into his 80s.
Papa loved to travel the world with his family, both to visit relatives and to discover new places, returning with art, flags, grappa, and memories. He loved music, hosting with Fiorella many concerts by LA Philharmonic musicians in their home over the years in their terrazzo’ed family room, surrounded by the calla lilies, fruit trees, and fountain of their garden.
Piero and Fiorella generously supported many groups, from the ACLU to Doctors of the World, Common Cause to The Southern Poverty Law Center, St Barnabas Church to the Smithsonian. They opened their home to friends and family for large gatherings and intimate meals, where people would linger on the porch long after dinner for ongoing conversation, sometimes until 2am.
There were periods of darkness over the years, as in all lives, but there was never any doubt in the hearts of his family and beloved friends, that Piero was a man who felt deeply, cared deeply, and loved deeply.
In his native Friulan, they have a traditional saying, “Mandi” which means, “May God accompany you”. So we say Mandi, Papa. We love you. Arrivederci.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Peter L Miotto to either of the following organizations, both of which reflect Papa’s interests and humanity:
American Civil Liberties Union = https://www.aclu.org/
Doctors of the World = https://doctorsoftheworld.org/
Luyben Dilday Mortuary (562) 425-6401