Achille, or Kelly Gasbarra was born in 1923 in Arnold, PA, to Giuseppe Gasbarra and Clara Ditmassi who were originally immigrants from Rome, Italy.
The family moved to Rockford Illinois when his father found work in an Illinois bank, and upon his mother’s death in 1937, Kelly decided to move back to Arnold to live and work in his uncle’s grocery store and beer garden.
Kelly was drafted into the Navy as a cook in 1943, and he claims to be “the only guy in the Navy that never saw water,” as he worked in Nevada at a naval ammunition depot that shipped ammunition to the Pacific fleet in San Francisco.
He also cooked on the trains that would take the discharged soldiers who landed in San Francisco to their separation sites across the United States.
After the war, Kelly went to formal cooking school in Pittsburgh, and he worked as a chef for the Pittsburgh Field Club in Fox Chapel for many years.
He has many favorite recipes that he would make at work and at home, and the metal rings on his fingers hail from his days as a chef.
Aside from his passion for cooking, Kelley has had a lifelong dedication to the sport of tennis, and he was also active with the Lions Club and with the American Legion.
Kelly first saw Matilda retrieving two gallons of water from a water fountain connected to a local spring, and he revealed,
They met soon after and were married in 1947.
Matilda was born in 1922 to a large Italian family. As she grew up, she often took over the role of cooking for the men in her family. She recalls that one of her brothers who had a beautiful singing voice couldn’t wait to go off to war, and she remembers the sadness when he was killed overseas.
She graduated high school in 1941, and she went to beauty school afterwards to become a beautician.
She started her own beauty parlor on the first floor of their house the same year she married her husband. She loved all of the clients who would come to the store, and she enjoyed the convenience of having a business run out of their home so that she could take care of their child.
Matilda was active in the church and with the Salvation Army.
Kelly and Matilda celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary the day before their interview, and one can see in their home that they were offically blessed by the Pope three times. They were able to travel to Italy, which is a vacation that they still remember fondly.
They have one child and pictures of their family are scattered throughout the house. It is evident that they have always been surrounded by good food, friends, and family.