John Pellegrini

NORWAY – John Pellegrini, 101, of Norway died Sunday, June 1, 2014, at ManorCare Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Kingsford.

He was born on Nov. 10, 1912, in Norway, the son of the late Frank and Judith (Ziller) Pellegrini.

Johnny lived in the family home in the “Third Ward” in Norway. He was a shy, home caretaker that was a creative genius.

He spent his lifetime in his tiny cobbler shop, helping anyone with need of having personal items repaired. He had the natural ability to fix and build anything.

One of his favorite sayings was “if you want something, you can’t just sit in a corner and think about it.” He followed through with his feelings.

The list of his accomplishments included making skis, snowshoes, ice skates, chest protectors, catcher’s masks, and even his own boat with hand tooled oars. Nothing was impossible to make for Johnny. He’d gather scrap metal and wood to create his next masterpiece.He also spent countless hours in his shop sharpening saw and skate blades for the folks in the area. Years prior, he also was the local barber and was known for his 5 cent haircuts. At the age of 95, Johnny finally closed his shop.

Johnny’s true passion was ice skating. He was a self-taught genius on the ice. He twisted, turned, jumped and flew across the ice. He always enjoyed creating a new trick or move on the frozen surface. He was the “Dick Button” of Third Ward. He skated into his 80s before he finally hung up his skates.

His quiet nature and laugh will be missed by all who had an opportunity to know Johnny Pellegrini.

He is survived by his nephews Ronald (Jeanne) DeGroot of Appleton, Wis. and Melvin (Connie) DeGroot of Spread Eagle, Wis.; niece Judy (Dave) Sparapani of Neenah, Wis.; seven great-nieces and great-nephews; and eight great-great nieces and great-great nephews.

John was preceded in death by his brothers Edward, Louis and Frank and Arthur Pellegrini, sister Ida DeGroot and brother-in-law John DeGroot.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, June 5, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ortman Funeral Home in Norway.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Ortman Funeral Home with Fr. John Martignon presiding.

Interment will be held at the Norway Township Cemetery.

Condolences to the family of John may be expressed online at