IRON MOUNTAIN - Fred "Palm Beach" Cerasoli, 104, of Iron Mountain, passed away on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, at Hyland Nursing Home.
He was born April 8, 1909, in Verona, Mich., son of the late Joseph and Marianina (Gentile) Cerasoli. At the age of 3, Fred's mother died giving birth to his sister Mary, who also died eight days later. In the following months, his twin sisters Flora and Dora died within months of each other from pneumonia.
Fred, his only brother and two remaining sisters were put into an orphanage because their father could not care for them. After moving from the orphanage in Illinois, the family spent time in three more orphan's homes before eventually ending up at the Goodwill Farm in Houghton. While there, Fred witnessed his older brother Raymond drown in Lake Superior. The elder Cerasoli moved his three remaining children to the Marquette orphanage where they remained until Fred was nine years old.
Fred 'Palm Beach' Cerasoli
He had many stories about growing up in Iron Mountain. At the age of 16, he "jumped" a train and went to seek his fortune working in Milwaukee and Chicago. His next adventure took him to Minnesota where he joined a small family-run carnival and spent what he said "was the best year of my life."
He returned to Iron Mountain shortly after his 18th birthday. On March 1, 1929, Fred married Sophie Swenski in Iron Mountain and she preceded him in death in 2002 after 73 years of marriage.
He had many jobs: the Millimans Hotel, the railroad, Fricks Bakery, City of Iron Mountain, Ford Motor Co., Von Platen Fox, Cochran Freight Lines, L&L Trucking, Olson Transportation and CW Transport, where he finally retired in 1973.
Fred was instrumental in building the North Side Ballpark where he played softball for many years on various teams. He also played a part in the development of Northside Cable. Fred was in on the ground floor of coaching Little League Baseball.
He maintained a large Italian garden even after his 100th birthday. Palm Beach was a well-known bowler in the area, carrying an impressive average with several 700 series and two 300 games. After retirement, he took up the game of golf and played several days a week until well into his 90s. Fred carries a lifetime membership at Oak Crest Golf Course in Norway.
He is survived by seven children, Helen Daniels of Milwaukee, Betty (Wally) Beaudoin, Ray (Karen) Cerasoli, Joe (Fran) Cerasoli and Bitsi (Ted) Hamm, all of Iron Mountain, Fred Cerasoli of Traverse City, and Mary (Joe) Spigarelli of Iron Mountain; 13 grandchildren, Steve Daniels, Dave (Tina) Beaudoin, Sue (Dan) Edwards, Jim (Robin) Hamm, Jerry (Gwen Jones) Hamm, Anne Cerasoli, Eileen (Jason) Anderson, Laura (Jason) Dempsey, Kate (Dennis) Cerasoli, Jane (Ron) Perttu, Christine (Justin) Hunt, John (Maureen Tyrrell) Spigarelli and Carolyn (Bryan) McGraw; great-grandchildren, Mark (Sarah) Oman, Nick (Jennifer) Oman, Joe Oman, Michele Grailer (Troy LaFave), David (Stephanie) Beaudoin, Jacquie Edwards, Karen Proudfit, Robert Edwards, Allison Edwards, Olivia Perttu, Nathan Perttu, Torin Cerasoli, Everett Anderson, Jack Dempsey, Sophie Anderson, Mary Frances Dempsey, Clara Anderson, Mya Hunt, Andrew McGraw, Alyse McGraw and Leya Hunt; great-great-grandchildren, Theresa Oman, J. Oman, Alec Henderson, Austin LaFave, and Riley Proudfit; a sister-in-law, Marie (Swenski) Bengry; a brother-in-law, Eugene Swenski; and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents and wife, Sophie, Fred was preceded in death by a grandson, Jeff Oman; a brother, Ray Cerasoli; two sisters, Clara Erickson and Ida Berger; three infant sisters, Flora, Dora and Mary Cerasoli; and a son-in-law, Herb Daniels.
Private family graveside services will be held at Cemetery Park with Msgr. James Kaczmarek officiating.
Condolences to the family of Fred "Palm Beach" Cerasoli may be expressed online at www.ernashfuneralhomes.com.
The family has entrusted the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home of Iron Mountain to handle the funeral arrangements.