WWII Veteran Lou Rossi celebrates 100th Birthday at Casitas La Verne Estates

LA VERNE – Cloudy skies and sprinkles outside Casitas La Verne Estates didn’t dampen the fun and spirits of WWII Veteran and long-time resident Lou Rossi’s 100th birthday celebration with more than 100 of his extensive and loving family and friends.

And one thing was clear: Lou’s spirits and enjoyment of life haven’t lessened any over his first century of life.

After Father Charles Ramirez of our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church said grace, he turned toward Lou and introduced him.

Without missing a beat, Lou got his party rolling in a festive spirit: “Thank you Father,” he said. “I’m looking forward to my next 100 years! Let’s go!!”

Over the next three hours, various family members from great-great granddaughters to his grandchildren and in-laws reviewed his amazing “never say die” history since the day he was born January 24, 1915 in Waterbury, Connecticut, to Eva and Joseph Rossi.

The “never say die” spirit first surfaced at the young age of five, when Lou contracted diphtheria, a traumatic event that claimed many youngsters at that time. Lou told the AVAG News that one of his earliest memories was remaining in quarantine at his grandmother’s home during a nine-day “crisis period” that “still seemed like it went on forever,” he said.

Undaunted, Lou bounced back rising to valedictorian of his grammar school — back when that level of education ran to the eighth grade. His perfect grade average earned him a trip to Washington, D.C., where he met President Calvin Coolidge.

After a brilliant high school career in a preparatory program, life threw Lou another health challenge: tuberculosis. After spending nine months in a sanatorium, Lou’s health improved enough so that he was able to work as a magazine salesman to help his family to survive the Great Depression.

As the nation moved toward WWII, Lou took his electrical engineering skills to work increasing the electrical capacity of torpedo manufacturing. During that tumultuous period of time he met the lifelong love of his life, MinaCapelletti, a recent widow with two daughters. “I was in love with her from the very first moment I set eyes upon her,” Lou said.

When WWII arrived, Lou entered the Army and was assigned to the Army Security Agency, the forerunner of the NSA today. Lou worked on highly specialized equipment that assisted in breaking the Japanese military code, which gave a crucial advantage the U.S. throughout WWII.

During the war, he and Mina married and were blessed with the birth of their only son, John, who demonstrated his father’s spirit in kindergarten when he escaped school and ran home, telling his startled parents that he pulled the jailbreak because he hated his teacher. Lou and Mina were married for 55 years before she passed away in 2003.

As Lou’s birthday party proceeded, those stories of his past flowed throughout the event telling of his love for music — he wrote a song for his son’s wedding, one for Mina, his brilliant work as an electrical engineer, including spending time working on the lenses used for the Hubble Space Telescope.

And, of his rebel spirit, where when attending college he became disgruntled with fraternity rituals and mean-spirited hazing. So, he formed a non-fraternity student group on campus, which focused on friendship and camaraderie without the pain and expense of hazing.

Also, during the event it was clear that Lou hadn’t lost his appetite, enjoying a round of appetizers, before eating a hearty meal — the food was delicious and plentiful, including seconds, and some dessert before eating his birthday cake.

His great-grandson, Daniel Rossi, said, “Lou is an amazing man, to this day. When we were working on putting together his history for the party, I was amazed at how sharp his memory is and how vivid it is to this day, as he buried me in details of such things as the color of the porch 20 years ago… he’s just an incredible man!”

Lou attributes his “first 100 years on earth” to a sense of love for his family, kindness to those around him and his devotion to God as the secrets of his success…“And most of all, I couldn’t find a better place to live than here” at Casitas La Verne Estates where he’s lived for more than 30 years.
Then he told everyone they’re invited to his 110th birthday party in 10 years.

Categories AVAG News | Tags: | Posted on April 1, 2015

Share: RSS Facebook Twitter Google del.icio.us Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

close window

Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

6654 Main Street
Wonderland, AK 45202
(513) 555-7856