FORT MYERS, Fla. — Meet Joe Genta. He considers himself a bit of a boss at bocce.
“It takes a little skill,” he said.
Genta is one of a handful of living World War II veterans who now spend their days in Fort Myers.
He was an Aviation Mechanic mate in 1942. Today, he plays bocce ball three times a week and rides his bike to the mailbox.
“Joe, I don’t know if he does every day, but every once in a while, at least, I see him going to the mailbox. Usually at the beginning of the month when the retirement check come in and Joe is straight line getting to that mailbox, so I don’t want to get in his way,” his neighbor," Bruno Ottavi, said.
Today, Genta's family celebrated his 102nd birthday at page field, where Joe got up close and personal with planes at the paragon flight school.
“Last year we missed 101 because of COVID, so every birthday is a big event,” Genta’s son, Peter Genta, said.
Peter says his dad is hardworking but says it's remarkable that he continues to exercise at his age.
His caregiver and neighbor say exercise brings him so much joy.
“He loves it. Exercise for him is something I think he has always wanted to do and maintained. It’s what’s kept him so independent,” Audra Lee, his caregiver, said.
“Wherever he goes, I don’t know if you heard, he is the still at 102, a very, very prolific bocce player,” Ottavi said.
Genta is also an avid reader.
“His brain is very very with it for 102,” Lee said.
Ottavi hopes he can be as lively as Joe one day
“He’s an inspiration. Maybe the rest of us can make it that far. I don’t know,” Ottavi said.