Some people call her the pizzelle lady, but wrestler Bruno Sammartino and football player Gene Upshaw loved her gnocchi, meatballs and sauce. Mary Scalercio was an excellent baker and cook, and she's 100 years old.
She was born in Coraopolis on March 20, 1913, the fourth of Grace and Frank DeRusso's nine children. On Aug. 16, 1932, she married Frank Scalercio at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Coraopolis. They had four children: Sandra Youngworth of Moon, twins Don (deceased) and Frank Jr. of Santa Rosa, Calif., and Marygrace Scalercio of Coraopolis, with whom she lives.
In addition to hosting Mr. Sammartino and Mr. Upshaw for dinner, Mrs. Scalercio met gangster Al Capone during a trip to visit her sister in Chicago. He was very helpful, she said, providing food for her family and getting her and a sister jobs at a restaurant. Mrs. Scalercio didn't learn to drive until she was in her 30s then continued until she was 90. After 30 years running a gift shop, she retired from that job at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport. For many years, she volunteered to cook for the priests and nuns who lived in St. Joseph's rectory. She still volunteers at Ohio Valley Hospital. In 2007, she was featured with her pizzelles in the Coraopolis-Moon Record newspaper.
Mrs. Scalercio has nine grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. For her milestone birthday, she received the key to Coraopolis from the mayor and congratulatory letters from President Barack Obama, U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle and TV personality Willard Scott.
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