Family celebrated along with staff to mark John’s milestone birthday. Born in Tucker County, West Virginia, John was one of nine siblings, and the son of a coal miner.
A World War II veteran, John was in the United States Army 34th Infantry Division.
Under that division, he served in 168th Infantry Regiment, also known as the “Red Bulls,” who were renown as the battalion who served the most combat days during the war.
After training in Ireland and Scotland, where he met King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, John was sent to Algiers and served in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa.
He then served in Tunisia at the Battle of Kasserine Pass. While there, he became separated from his unit in hostile territory.
After 72 hours the U.S. Army Air Corps dropped leaflets alerting troops that no help would be coming.
Determined to survive, John crawled under sight of German machine gunners until he was picked up and reunited with U.S. forces.
He later served in Salerno, Italy.
After his military service ended, John worked as a meat cutter for most of the 40 years that followed.
In 1949, he married his wife, Frances, and they remained together until her death on his 90th birthday.
Together they had two children, a son and daughter.
To honor John’s birthday, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and State Representative Perry Warren each visited him and presented him with citations that acknowledge his 100th birthday as well as a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol.
John is currently a resident at Friends Home & Village in Newtown Pennsylvania.
Known to residents and staff alike as a kind and friendly man, John is quick with a smile and warm greeting.
His son, Paul, has said that John has always been an honest, hard-working guy with a positive attitude and no regrets.
If his family is any indication, John’s pleasant demeanor is surely infectious.
Enjoying lunch and birthday festivities with his family at Friends Home’s Paxson Hall, it was easy to see the love and affection they hold for one another.
PHOTO CAP: John Ferlise (right) with State Rep. Perry Warren