Some people just leave a lasting impression everywhere they go. Such was the case for Felix Harry Maggini, who passed away on August 24, 2011 after battling several illnesses. And with 1,000 people in attendance at his “Celebration of Life” party, it is very obvious that this hard-working and even harder-playing man left a BIG impression on many throughout his short life. Felix and the rest of the Maggini family from Riverdale, CA are well-known for their bright yellow and green hay trucks that have been running up and down California’s Central Valley for almost four decades.
In the early days, Felix and his older brother Melvin would work morning to night boomin’ hay – and they were good at it! In 1973, Felix decided that it was time to start his own company and there began Felix Maggini Hay Truck’n Inc. With help from some of the family, Felix bought his very first truck. He knew he wanted it to catch people’s eyes, but when he came home from the paint shop the opinions varied – but he didn’t care – he loved his yellow and green. Trucking was much more than just a business to Felix Maggini, it was a way of life – and he loved it!
In the winter of 1979, Felix’s life changed forever. He still loved truckin’ and burnin’ down the town, but he had a new goal. A beautiful brunette had moved back to town and became the bartender at the Mt. Whitney, the local Riverdale hangout. From the moment he saw her he knew he just had to make her his own. So, in true Felix fashion, he got her attention the only way he knew how – by throwing quarters at her! Their first official date was an evening at Harris Ranch and it was all over from there. They hit it off right away. Felix loved how Kathy could hang with the best of them and he loved to watch her out-drink his friends. The two were married on September 19, 1981 in Lake Tahoe.
Starting a family rather quickly, Felix and Kathy had two girls, Kali and Katie. Always wanting boys, Felix raised his girls like they were his sons, which made them tough and independent (and maybe even a little stubborn and hard-headed). He raised them with the motto, “Do as I say, NOT as I do,” but they always knew he loved them. Felix was a great dad. Since then, Katie met and married James and Kali met and got engaged to Levi – and these two young men became the sons Felix never had. Katie and James also gave Felix a granddaughter (Lola) and a grandson (Grady) – and Grady is just like his gramppy – he only has one speed – wide open!
Felix was laid to rest in true hay-hauler fashion. On Wednesday, August 31, his coffin was strapped to some hay bales atop one of his trailers and pulled from the Maggini yard into town with his beloved Peterbilt cabover (which he bought brand new and had been wrecked and resurrected several times). Along with about 15 of the Maggini rigs, about 20 other trucks (mostly hay trucks) joined Felix for one last convoy into town, where his “Celebration of Life” party was happening. After unloading their precious cargo, Mike Maggini laid down a tire-smoking burnout right there in front of the Riverdale Memorial Hall while hundreds of family and friends cheered him on.
Felix Harry Maggini lived an extraordinary life and will not soon be forgotten. We were honored to be at Felix’s final party, which (literally) was standing room only. The food was great, but the stories being shared by everyone in attendance were even better! Felix never judged anybody and only saw the best in everyone. He never met a stranger in his life and he always made everyone feel so important.
All of us here at 10-4 Magazine send prayers for peace and comfort to the Maggini family and hope that you are all comforted by the fact that Felix is in a better place now – a place where all of the trucks are cabovers and hay still pays! Keep on truckin’ Felix – you will be missed by everyone who knew you – and now by those who wish they did!!