James Zell, Wellington Resident And WWII Veteran, Turns 100

James Zell and his family at his birthday celebration.

Longtime Wellington resident James Zell turned 100 on Jan. 20. Originally, a party was planned for approximately 150 people to be held at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church to mark his special day.

However, one week before the party, Zell had a fall, which resulted in a fractured tailbone, and the party had to be relocated to his rehab facility in Lake Worth.

Signature Healthcare graciously allowed Zell’s family and friends to use their chapel room and long hallway for the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 20 for a cake and ice cream celebration. Little did they know that there would be close to 120 people coming to the party!

Friends and family came from all over: Pennsylvania, Alabama, North Carolina, Connecticut, Aruba and Illinois, just to name a few locations.

Zell served in World War II and was recently featured as one of the honorees at the 2017 Wellington Holiday Parade.

Originally from Monongahela, Pa., Zell was a 1935 graduate of Monongahela High School. Zell earned his bachelor’s degree in education from California University of Pennsylvania in 1939, where he was a football, basketball and tennis star. He was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 1998.

Zell’s first job after college was as an English and social studies teacher in South Hill, Va., where he also coached football, basketball and tennis. He later worked for the Ford Motor Company and toured the country giving speeches.