CHAMPLAIN — BALLSTON SPA - Samuel E. "Pete" Rotella, 86, of 33 Sherman Way, Ballston Spa, N.Y., died on March 24, 2014, at Saratoga Hospital, after many valiant battles with chronic illness during which he exhibited inspiring desire for both life and independence.
Pete was born on March 9, 1928 in Mineville, N.Y. to Rose (Damian) and Frank Rotella and lived the majority of his life in the Town of Moriah, N.Y. as a well-known and respected member of this community.
He served in both the U.S. Navy and in the U.S. Air Force, serving in both World War II and in the Korean War. While in the U.S. Air Force, Pete attained the rank of Staff Sergeant and was an Airplane Power Plant Mechanic, working on some of the first U.S. jet aircraft engines. This led to work as mechanic and, later, as parts manager at Belden and Edwards Ford in Port Henry, N.Y. His final full-time employment was as custodian and bus driver with Moriah Central School (MCS) in Moriah. Once retired from MCS, Pete continued to make new friends as tour bus driver for Ausable Chasm until the age of 81. Pete also served as both Quartermaster and Commander of Mineville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5802.
Pete loved meeting new people, and made friends at the hospital even in his last days, winning them over with his gentle humor and thoughtfulness. He greatly enjoyed the outdoors as an avid hunter and fisherman, and was fully committed to his family through all phases of his life.
Pete is survived by his sons, Jason and Michael; his daughter, Rose; his brother, George; five grandchildren, Alyssa, Brianna, Cayleigh, Danielle, and Brian; and many nieces and nephews.
Calling hours are from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 28, at Harland's Funeral Home on 4279 Main St., Port Henry.
A Catholic Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, at the Church of All Saints in Mineville. The rite of committal will occur at a later date. Following this, a reception will be held at the Parish Center of Saint Patrick's Church in Port Henry.