Louis R. Morelli of Ridgway will be turning 102 this Saturday, July 28, 2012.
Morelli was born July 28, 1910 in Dagus Mines and later moved to Ridgway when he married the late Marie DePanfilis. Morelli is known for being the co-owner at the Center Market in Ridgway where he managed the meat department.
“My dad used to always give hot dogs away to the kids when they would come in,” said Loretta Matha, one of Morelli’s daughters.
Before Morelli became a butcher he worked in the mines as early as the age of 14. His family traveled often because his father was the lead dynamite technician for the mines.
“In 1933 his aunt’s house caught fire,” Matha said. “He thought they were in it and opened the door to get them out and the fire blew up in his face and his hands and face were severely burnt.”
The incident took several years for Morelli to recover.
“After my dad healed he decided to go to meat-cutting school in Toledo, Ohio,” said Matha. “My mom was from Ridgway and dad met her when he started working at the Center Market.”
Morelli also has a daughter Marcheta Shrefler of Edinboro, five grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
A man of many adventures, Morelli has seen it all. “My dad is a Yankees fan,” Matha said. “He has seen Babe Ruth play and was in attendance at the 1960 World Series when the [Pittsburgh] Pirates won.”
Morelli has also spent time in the United States Army and is a veteran of World War II: a member of the 75th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army.
“He was in the Battle of the Bulge also known as the Invasion of Normandy/D-Day,” Matha said.
Morelli is also a member of St. Leo’s Church, an avid golfer, member of the St. Mary’s Sportsman’s Club and the Rolfe Rifle Club. Morelli is an excellent shooter and greatly enjoyed hunting.
“I’ve hunted in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Michigan,” Morelli said. “I’ve been on an elk hunt back in the 1920s.”
It is unheard of what 102 years can bring about, and Morelli says he is stunned how the world has evolved.
“I never dreamed people would go to the moon,” Morelli said. “The world has changed so much.”