WEYMOUTH_ Pellegrino “Pelly” Tulimieri celebrated his 100th birthday June 28, and becoming a centenarian does not seem any different to him from when he reached age 70.
“I have lived in Weymouth 60 years,” said Tulimieri, a World War II Army veteran and retired chief sheet metal engineer. “I lived in Dorchester near Franklin Park before moving to Weymouth. I have been a member of Local 17 as a sheet metal worker for 72 years.”
Tulimieri ’s centennial birthday celebration outside his home on Bicknell Street included a surprise car parade of local police, firefighters, a Norfolk County deputy, veterans, an Army Humvee, family members and friends.
He was awarded complimentary citations for his contributions to the community from Mayor Robert Hedlund, Town Council, State Rep. James Murphy, D- Weymouth and State Sen. Patrick O’Connor, R- Weymouth.
Tulimieri is an active communicant of St. Albert the Great Church, and he served as a chaplain for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1399.
“I was drafted in 1944,” he said. “I served in the Army’s 65th division. We started out in France and headed toward Germany. We had quite a bit of combat.”
Tulimieri’s platoon fought in the “remnants” of the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium against the Germans in early January 1945.
The battle was a desperate counteroffensive by the Germans in December 1944, to prevent their nation from being invaded by the Allied armies which had swept across Europe, following the D-Day invasion of France, six months earlier.
Tulimieri’s platoon headed toward Austria after the Battle of the Bulge, and they met the Russians, who invaded the country before Allied forces arrived.
Tulimieri said the Russian military was “not too friendly,” toward arriving Allied forces.
“When the war ended, we got stationed in Stalag 6 in Moosburg, Germany,” he said. “The Germans had control of it until we got there. They released all the Allied prisoners, and we put the German prisoners in there.”
Tulimieri said many German soldiers willingly surrendered to American forces because they feared being captured by the Russians.
“The Germans hated them,” he said. “When the war ended, all the Germans came over to our side.”
Tulimieri returned to the U.S. in 1947 and was honorably discharged from the Army a year later.
He and his late wife, Eileen Tulimieri, eventually moved to Weymouth, where they raised three children, Diane Cullivan of Kingston, Richard Tulimeri of Plymouth and Ronald Tulimieri of San Francisco.
“I worked in a metal shop for 10 years, and I was a draftsman for the next 30 years,” he said.
Tulimieri said his commitment to St. Albert the Great Church has become a “livelihood” after retiring as a chief engineer.
“I get to meet all kinds of people,” he said. “After every Mass, we have coffee and a snack every morning. The people are very friendly.”
Tulimieri’s commitment to the parish included being involved in a nine-month prayer vigil when the Archdiocese of Boston closed the church in 2004.
“I asked Father (Ron) Coyne to have a prayer service on the day we closed, and we had 500 prayer services until we opened again,” he said.
The Archdiocese rescinded its order to close the parish in June 2005.
Tulimieri’s involvement at the church had included leading a prayer of the rosary every morning before the coronavirus pandemic increased.
“Before this virus started, I would open the church at 8 a.m.,” he said. “I was also acting as an altar server for each Mass in the morning.”
Tulimieri said the coronavirus pandemic is terrible, but he is taking a “day by day” approach towards life.
“I don’t know what tomorrow will bring,” he said.
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