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North Bergen honors 100-year-old Navy veteran

Joseph Mongelli received a township proclamation

North Bergen resident Joseph Mongelli turned 100 on Sept. 8.

North Bergen has honored a local U.S. Navy veteran who recently turned 100 years old.

Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation honoring town resident Joseph Mongelli on his 100th birthday at the Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Sept. 9.

“On behalf of all of North Bergen I would like to congratulate Joseph on his 100th birthday,” Sacco said. “This magnificent milestone is truly a cause for celebration and to reflect on the wonderful life Mr. Mongelli has lived. We are grateful for his selfless service to our nation during WWII and look to him for inspiration on how to live a long, happy, and healthy life.”

Mongelli is a longtime resident of North Bergen, whose love for life inspires his family, friends, and community every day. He wakes up early each morning and, at the age of 100, goes to work driving empty buses for Alliance Bus Group in Carlstadt, NJ.

A life of service

Mongelli was born at home on Sept. 8, 1920 to Ignazio and Maria Mongelli.

He proposed to his future wife Rita Ferris in Hudson County Park in North Bergen and they married while he was on a short leave from the U.S. Navy Submarine Division during WWII on Dec. 9, 1943.

After returning to the war in the Pacific, Mongelli was injured when the USS Lapon encountered enemy fire. He was awarded medals by the U.S. Navy in late 1944. He and his wife went on to have two daughters, Sharyn and Joni, who gave them a grandson, Damon, and a granddaughter, Joey.

In the early 1970s, Mongelli played a key role in bringing the USS Ling submarine to New Jersey to memorialize those lost in submarine service during WWII.

Mongelli is the leading voice in saving the USS Ling, which is docked in the Hackensack River. It memorializes the brave men he served with and who sacrificed their lives on submarines during WWII. He continues to work tirelessly to preserve this piece of history. He has made it his mission to relocate the USS Ling Memorial to Hoboken.

Mongelli lives a remarkable life at age 100, characterized by devotion to his faith, family, and friends; hard work; healthy eating; honesty, humility, and humor. He continues to inspire many with stories of his service to the country and commitment to his fallen comrades.

Sacco said that after the commissioner’s meeting, he gave Mongelli a call to personally wish him a happy birthday. Mongelli’s daughter told Sacco he got a “big kick out of all this.” Sacco said the township was happy to be able to celebrate with him.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.