I was born June 19, 1942 in Alameda. My father (John Sr.) and my mother (Servart) were first generation Armenian. My father worked in the shipyards in the San Francisco Bay Area throughout WWII.
In 1946 we moved to Fresno and my father started his own automotive body and fender shop, “City Body Works” on Broadway in downtown Fresno.
In 1951 he purchased some commercial property “way out” to Cedar and Belmont avenues and continued the body and fender business.
In 1953 he decided that the repair work was too “labor intensive” so he went into the automotive exhaust business and founded “Johnny’s Muffler Service.”
This third generation family run business has been owner-operated by my son (John III) since 1987, and become an institution among local automotive circles.
I have one brother (Paul) who re-located to the Seattle area in 1977 and founded his own exhaust system business, “Magic Muffler” in Poulsbo, Wash.
I graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1960 and immediately enlisted in the US Navy. At that time you could enlist for two years active duty and four years reserve duty.
I served my active duty as a Boiler Tender (BT) aboard the USS Whetstone LSD27 and was fortunate to have completed my tour of active duty before the Vietnam war broke out.
I completed my Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Sociology from Fresno State in 1967 and immediately went to work for Tulare County as a Deputy Probation Officer. In 1969 I transferred to the Fresno County Probation Department.
While employed by Fresno County I also became a part time instructor for Fresno City College in 1974. I taught two evening classes, Introduction to the Criminal Justice System and Interviewing and Counseling.
In 1976 I was offered and accepted a position with the American Justice Institute (AJI) in Sacramento to help establish a standardized training program for law enforcement, court, and correctional personnel.
This turned out to be one of those long on title, short on salary and very political jobs that creates a lot of disharmony and stress in your life.
Fortunately my father decided to retire so I moved back to Fresno in November 1976 and took over the family business “Johnny’s Muffler Service.”
In 1987 I turned the muffler shop over to my son and turned my hobby into a full time business and ultimately founded “Ride Motor Sales.” I specialized in used Harley-Davidson motorcycles, new and used Harley parts and accessories; hot rods, and classic cars.
The business developed very quickly and I found myself working far more than my original intention. I sold the business in 2003 and basically “retired.”
In 1963, I married my high school steady girlfriend, Eva (nee Mendez) and after 51+ years I still can’t figure her out.
We have two children, son John III whom we call J.P., and our daughter, Erikka, who resides in the foothills above Sacramento with her husband and two teenage children.
In the early 1970’s I fixed up a former telephone company van and we traveled “hippy gypsy” like all over the US and Canada; including a six week journey to the East Coast in 1974.
We also traveled quite extensively together on my motorcycles primarily west of the Rocky Mountains.
In 1988, however, I traveled “solo” on my Harley for seven weeks on a 10,000 mile adventure throughout the US and Eastern Canada.
In the last 20 years our trips have become more sophisticated and civilized as we have traveled throughout Europe. I think our favorite destination city would have to be London.
Eva started attending yoga classes in 1979, but it took her until 1988 to get me to join her. It took years, but ultimately we seriously incorporated a yoga lifestyle into our lives.
I have been teaching yoga classes since 2008 and I am currently presenting classes at the Clovis Senior Activity Center and at George Brown Fitness Center.
I still love old cars, I currently have a 1953 Chevy and I love to ride my bicycle.
When I have the time, I’ll get on my bicycle and just wander for hours and hours. Life is good.