I want to send congratulations today to my great-great uncle, Joseph Berger, on the occasion of his 95th birthday.
Uncle Joe is the youngest brother of my late maternal great-grandmother, Mary Berger Vincenti (1911-1999).
He's pictured at far right in the old photo above with Grandma Vincenti and two of their three half-brothers, Jules and Simmie Bohey. I'm sorry to say I don't know the year the image was created.
Uncle Joe was born December 10, 1914, the son of Peter Berger and Amelia Moulton Berger. Peter and Amelia had immigrated separately from Belgium sometime around the turn of the century and settled in McDonald, PA.
The town, which had a glass factory in those days, became the home of many Belgian immigrants. It has a "Belgium Hill" and a "Belgium Club." A patch of houses in a village west of McDonald is still called "Belgium Hollow."
Uncle Joe grew up in McDonald and went to school there. On June 8, 1942, he married the former Rose Dusie. They made their home and raised two daughters, Barbara and Natalie, in nearby Houston, PA. Aunt Rose died in 2000.
An avid golfer, Uncle Joe worked was an agent for Ashland Oil and Refining Company and operated a bulk plant in the village of Wolfdale. He then spent 16 years with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, retiring as a manager of purchasing and stores in 1979.
Uncle Joe's 95th is a milestone for my family. To my knowledge, we've never had someone live to within five years of their centenary. I have two other relatives coming close, however. My maternal great-great uncle, Ray Vincenti, and my paternal great aunt, Rosanna Snatchko Pancirov, are both also in their early 90s.
I was glad to have the chance to see Uncle Joe when I was in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago for Thanksgiving. We visited as he had dinner at his new residence, The Willows at Presbyterian SeniorCare in Oakmont, PA.
A small party was held today at The Willows in honor of Uncle Joe's 95th.