World War II vet who went on fitness kick at 96 dies at 105

Joseph Rosa was a World War II veteran, self-made millionaire, passionate gambler, avid golfer and a girls’ man, in response to his household and mates. But he could also be greatest remembered for his late-life transformation right into a fitness center rat extraordinaire.

Rosa, who died at 105 on June 15 in Las Vegas, gained native movie star for his restoration following a 2011 hit-and-run accident exterior a Fresh and Easy grocery retailer in Sun City Summerlin. He was left with a damaged again and left leg, and docs warned him that he would seemingly by no means stroll once more.

But Rosa, then 96, wasn’t shopping for that bleak outlook.

He joined a 24-Hour Fitness fitness center and inside 4 months was again on his ft.

“Within six months, he was educating me how you can play golf,” Aaron Clay, Rosa’s good friend and former private coach, recalled this week.

Though Clay turned a Realtor and left the health membership, he and Rosa continued to take pleasure in breakfast collectively for years. Rosa continued going to the fitness center 3 times per week for the subsequent 9 years and became a local celebrity among the many members who used the membership every morning. The Summerlin fitness center celebrated his 103rd birthday in 2018.

The health kick was a departure from Rosa’s common habits.

Born on Dec. 9, 1915, three days earlier than Frank Sinatra, Rosa credited his longevity to 2 of the singer’s favourite cravings — “booze and broads.”

One of eight kids from two Italian immigrants, Rosa grew up within the Watts neighborhood in south Los Angeles through the Great Depression, stated nephew Tim Rosa. As a teen, he labored at Firestone Tire and Rubber Co., stole pies from his mom to promote for 1 / 4 and made paper kites from rest room paper and string to promote for five cents apiece.

“He was a personality,” Tim Rosa stated. “He may very well be ruthless and may very well be one of many nicest guys you’ve ever wish to meet.”

The elder Rosa joined the Coast Guard shortly earlier than World War II broke out and was finally commissioned into the Navy. His ship, the USS Serpens, was a part of the Bougainville marketing campaign throughout land and sea battles within the South Pacific between the Allied forces and Japan.

Rosa was promoted to chief petty officer and transferred from the Serpens in 1945, weeks earlier than the freighter exploded whereas the crew was loading depth fees into the holds, killing 250 males. It stays the worst catastrophe in Coast Guard historical past.

After leaving the service, Rosa based a roofing firm with brothers Jimmie and Augie in Los Angeles. At its top, Rosa Bros. Roofing employed 58 employees and was the second-largest roofing firm within the metropolis.

Before promoting the enterprise in 1996, Rosa additionally invested in actual property and a shrimp farm in Ecuador, owned a journey company and opened a mini-storage enterprise, enabling him to comfortably retire in Las Vegas.

A self-proclaimed heavy drinker and smoker effectively into his 70s, Rosa usually performed golf on the Paiute Golf Resort till he was 99. Friends recall that Rosa was identified for his beneficiant tricks to waitresses and pleasant conversations with nearly anybody he encountered.

“He was unimaginable and he was one powerful, sturdy son of a b—-,” stated Clay. “But he additionally had a softer aspect and actually did really care about individuals.”

Rosa is survived by youthful brother, Jimmie, three kids, eight grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Per his needs, Rosa will probably be cremated. A personal memorial service will probably be held at a time and date to be decided.

Contact Mathew Miranda at [email protected] Follow @mathewjmiranda on Twitter.

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