Pete Mattivi hits 100
NEW CASTLE – With a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face, Pete Mattivi, of New Castle, credits “wine, women and song” with reaching his 100th birthday.But on a more serious note, he says it’s friends, family and his creator that allowed him to see his centennial year on Sept. 8, 2005.A birthday celebration held Sunday afternoon for Mattivi in Burning Mountain Park drew a huge crowd and a long line of people who wanted to congratulate him and wish him well.With music by “Heart of the Rockies” and a buffet of birthday cake and ice cream, Mattivi sat in a folding chair, his cane over his legs as friends lined up to speak to him.Some were old friends, in wheelchairs and walkers, and some were newer friends who knew of the illustrious Mattivi, although they might not have met him before.
“You are so wonderful – everybody loves you,” said longtime New Castle resident Rosie Ferrin.”One hundred years old – you look great,” another well-wisher admired.”I feel that way, too!” Mattivi smiled and agreed.Some shared old memories they had with Mattivi.Liz Lewis, of Rifle, recalled when she was a school bus driver in the 1970s and on a field trip with the kids while Mattivi recounted the history of Marble for the students..”It was one of the most interesting trips I’d ever been on,” Lewis said.
Mattivi has long been a well-known figure in the small town that currently has a population of about 3,000. Born in 1905, he was raised in Crystal and lived in Marble, Salida and Glenwood Springs before settling in New Castle in 1929. There, he helped his brother, Matt, open a small service station in town, which was booming at that time.In 1931, he married Opal Wurts and the two operated the Mattivi Motor Company at 298 W. Main St. It was later the Three Rivers Repair/Phillips 66 station. Mattivi retired from the business in 1982. Opal Mattivi passed away in August 2000.Mattivi was also a former longtime mayor of New Castle, serving from 1954 to 1969, and from 1974 to 1981. He was a Garfield County Commissioner from 1957 to 1977 and served 10 years on the Re-2 school board.”Can we have your autograph?” asked Karen Wentzel, the wife of current mayor Bill Wentzel, when it was her turn in line as she showed Mattivi a collage she had of his past birthdays.Mattivi graciously signed his name.
For years, Mattivi was known for his beautiful flower gardens at his home on Main Street, just across the street from where his daughter, Pam Bunn, now owns and operates the New Castle Cafe.”He comes in for breakfast every morning at 8:30 on the dot,” Bunn said with a laugh. “He also comes to the senior lunch and dinners.”Mattivi sold a portion of his property on the west side in 1997 but continues to garden the rest.And even at 100, he is still active, riding his scooter across the street to the cafe and tending to his yard.Mattivi has no big secrets to making it to the big 1-0-0.”I live day by day,” Mattivi said earnestly. “The next thing you know, you’re 100. People have been good to me, and my creator has been good to me. I’ve just followed what was given to me.”
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