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World Struggle II vet who went on health kick at 96 dies at 105

Joseph Rosa was a World Struggle II veteran, self-made millionaire, passionate gambler, avid golfer and a girls’ man, in keeping with his household and mates. However he could also be finest remembered for his late-life transformation right into a gymnasium rat extraordinaire.

Rosa, who died at 105 on June 15 in Las Vegas, gained native celeb for his restoration following a 2011 hit-and-run accident outdoors a Contemporary and Straightforward grocery retailer in Solar Metropolis Summerlin. He was left with a damaged again and left leg, and docs warned him that he would possible by no means stroll once more.

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

He joined a 24-Hour Health gymnasium and inside 4 months was again on his toes.

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

Although Clay grew to become a Realtor and left the health membership, he and Rosa continued to get pleasure from breakfast collectively for years. Rosa continued going to the gymnasium thrice every week for the subsequent 9 years and have become an area celeb among the many members who used the membership every morning. The Summerlin gymnasium 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.”

Considered one of eight kids from two Italian immigrants, Rosa grew up within the Watts neighborhood in south Los Angeles throughout the Nice Despair, 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 Struggle 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 prices 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 peak, Rosa Bros. Roofing employed 58 employees and was the second-largest roofing firm within the metropolis.

Earlier than 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 nicely into his 70s, Rosa frequently performed golf on the Paiute Golf Resort till he was 99. Pals recall that Rosa was recognized for his beneficiant tricks to waitresses and pleasant conversations with nearly anybody he encountered.

“He was unimaginable and he was one robust, sturdy son of a b—-,” stated Clay. “However he additionally had a softer facet and actually did actually care about individuals.”

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

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

Contact Mathew Miranda at Observe @mathewjmiranda on Twitter.

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