June 13, 2024
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June 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Remembering My Friend Orlando Padilla

On January 24, I lost a friend.

Orlando Padilla was a man who touched many over the 18 years he worked alongside me at EJ’s. I was lucky to have such a dedicated and hard-working employee, but even more so, blessed to have him as a part of my life.

Orlando’s strong work ethic and dedication to EJ’s success was something of an anomaly. For his first 15 years with me he worked seven days a week and rarely took time off. His calm and happy demeanor while diligently making pie upon pie of pizza was a source of comfort and stability. His willingness to help with whatever was necessary, be it preparing, cooking or serving, was always appreciated. Above all, however, Orlando’s ability to push through hardship for the sake of honoring commitment continues to serve as a source of awe and inspiration. Orlando took a genuine interest in the customers who frequented EJ’s. He developed personal relationships with many members of the community. Despite how busy he was, he would always find the time to say hello to people and ask how they were doing. In the days since his passing, many members of the community have been expressing a sense of loss and are looking to reach out to Orlando’s family to express their condolences.

Personally, Orlando became an extended member of my family. He was there to celebrate my engagement, my wedding and the births of my three children. Each time I would tell him my wife, Judy, and I were expecting, he would break out into his “happy dance.” His warm hugs, back-room basketball games and pizza-making sessions will be missed by my three children. What I will always be most grateful for was his genuine caring, help and support while I was going through chemotherapy. On the days when I came to work tired and weak, he would encourage me to go home and rest; he would simply say, “we got it here.”

It is not every day that we are blessed with the opportunity to work alongside those who inspire us to try harder and be better. Our sincerest condolences go out to Orlando’s wife, Gloria, his children, Elvis and Sandra, Neyla and Jehyson, and granddaughters, Luciana and Camila. May they be comforted by Orlando’s legacy and the impact he had on so many.

Messages of condolence can be mailed to:

Elvis Padilla

185 Hadley Ave.

Clifton, NJ 07011

Joel Katler is the owner of EJ’s Pizza.

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