Short Biography, John Peter Verrelli
John Verrelli was born June 23, 1915 in Milford, MA. His parents were immigrants from Italy coming to
Milford in 1890. John (Giovanni) grew up during the depression years, working were he could find work in
construction, grocery stores and eventually Draper Corporation where he retired after 34 years.
In June 1925 he married Caroline (Gattozzi), they had only one child, me. Those of you who shopped Henry
Patrick can maybe remember mom, she was a checker there for years before moving to A&P on Main St. in
John had two Grand Children, Leonard II (Chip) living in Juneau Alaska and Beth Ann (Muff) living in
Anchorage, Alaska. Chip and his wife Sara (Meinhart) had his two Great Grand Children, Eric, in college and
Lauren working in the garment world as a designer in NYC.
There is a story that goes with the picture that is worth telling. John started out as an oiler (a guy who
crawled around oiling machines a dirty job). He worked his way up through various jobs, gaining a
reputation for being a hard worker.
One day, the foreman asked him if he wanted to study to be a machinist which would have given him quite a
raise. Mind you when he retired he was making $4.75/hour doing what you see him doing in the picture.
John went as far as the 7th grade and had to quit school because his father had lost his arm to blood
poisoning and could no longer work at Drapers.
He accepted the challenge and studied really hard at work and home. I can recall tutoring him on fractions,
a big part of a machinist daily work. Dad would be sweating he was so nervous about mathematics. But
you know, he got through the fear of failing and passed his tests. He worked hard and learned the job so
well he was promoted to a supervisory position in that department.
Dan asked me to try and date the picture. My best guess it was between 1948 and 1951.
His favorite saying, “it will all come out in the wash”.
He loved hunting and fishing and was loved by my friends growing up because he mentored them in both
hunting and fishing. I did not know how my friends felt that way; I took hunting and fishing with my dad for
granted. After he passed, most of my friends told me they were grateful that my dad took the time to
introduce them to the out of doors.
Looking back, I believe that was his legacy. Touching so many kids, when you think of it, that is a wonderful
thing to be remembered for.
Len Verrelli. October 2014
Memories Menu HOME
few days later, I heard from Len Verrelli. He told me that his father was in
the picture you see above. After we wrote back and forth a few times, I
asked if he could write a a bit about his father. He did. Here it is.
John with his dog, Stinger.
John, Caroline, baby Chip and Len.
John at Len's Michigan farm.
John is in the foreground in this picture. 1954
Standing Grandson Chip, John Granddaughter Muff, unknown, wife
actually rode on the roof to Hopedale. That would be considered tacky these
days. Times have changed.)