FORT MYERS, Florida – Meet Joe Genta. He sees himself as a boccia boss.
“It takes a little skill,” he says.
Genta is one of the few living World War II veterans who spend their days in Fort Myers.
In 1942 he was an aviation mechanic buddy. Today he plays bocce three times a week and rides his bike to the mailbox.
“Joe, I don’t know if he does this every day, but every now and then I see him go to the mailbox. Usually at the beginning of the month when the pension check comes in and Joe comes straight to that mailbox, so I don’t want to stand in his way, “said his neighbor,” said Bruno Ottavi.
Today Genta’s family celebrated his 102nd birthday in Page Field, where Joe saw airplanes up close at the paragon flight school.
“Last year we missed 101 because of COVID, so every birthday is a big event,” said Genta’s son Peter Genta.
Peter says his father is hardworking, but it is noteworthy that at his age he continues to play sports.
His supervisor and neighbor say that he enjoys exercise so much.
“He loves it. Exercise for him is something that I think he has always wanted to do and have kept doing. It has made him so independent,” said Audra Lee, his supervisor.
“Wherever he goes, I don’t know if you’ve heard, he’s still a very, very productive bocce player at 102,” said Ottavi.
Genta is also an avid reader.
“His brain has been very much on it since 102,” said Lee.
Ottavi hopes that one day he can be as lively as Joe
“He’s an inspiration. Maybe the rest of us will make it this far. I don’t know, ”said Ottavi.
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