A Mosinee man celebrated his 90th birthday serving his customers at his bar, but there was a surprise in store for him Monday. The Mosinee mayor gave Wally Rozella the key to the city and dozens came out to celebrate.
"Wally, for your many years of service to the city of Mosinee and on your birthday, as mayor, I'm happy to present you with the key to the city of Mosinee," said Mosinee Mayor Brent Jacobson as cheers broke out. "Happy Birthday."
"You know, I didn't expect that," said Wally Rozella minutes later.
Wally has been in business for 59 years after opening Wally's Bar in 1958. The bar is unique in that it is meant to prompt conversation; it has no TV or jukebox.
Wally's son, Walt Rozella, lives in New York but made the flight back to central Wisconsin to surprise his dad. He says the 90-year old is a very special person.
Walt and Mayor Jacobson said that besides operating the bar as the sole bartender, Wally is the city's unofficial historian. As a guitar, accordion, and the crowd filled the establishment with a version of Happy Birthday, friends said they enjoy his sharp mind and bartending skills.
"For one thing he's full of information," said Jim Reidel of Mosinee, who estimates he's been a returning patron for 40 years. "And he's just very friendly and outgoing and he's so reasonable with his drinks."
"He makes really good old-fashioneds," said Walt Rozella.
After handing Wally the key to the city, Mayor Jacobson said he was ready to try an old-fashioned as well.
"Well, I feel the greatest and I'm really surprised that so many people showed up," said Wally Rozella.
"He's just one great guy," said Jim Reidel. "And he was a Korean War vet and he was right up on the front lines."
"I served in Korea, 25th Division, Infantry," said Wally. "And now it's 59 years in a bar."
"It's just fabulous that he's still in health where he can work at 90 years old," said Walt Rozella.
Jim Reidel said Wally is one of the greatest people in Mosinee.
"I'm going to continue on," said Wally. "I feel great and I'm going to continue tending bar... and making old fashioneds."