Dunkirk resident celebrates 100th birthday

Joseph J. Carrus Jr., currently residing in the Chautauqua County Home in Dunkirk, celebrated his 100th birthday on Jan. 21. A celebration was held in his honor and included all four of his children: Darlene of Miami, Fla., John of Mentor, Ohio, Joseph III of Dunkirk and Richard of Halifax, Mass., along with many friends and relatives. Refreshments were served and piano music provided by Les Fuller enhanced the celebration.

He was married to the late Cecilia Carrus. His education was obtained at St. Mary’s Academy and Holy Cross Seminary where he studied with the Passionate Fathers for nine years, earning a bachelor of arts degree. In 1931, while he was a student at the seminary, he wrote his first poem and he has not stopped writing since. Carrus studied Latin, philosophy and Catholicism. This time of his life with the Passionate Fathers molded his character and made him the honest, compassionate person and lifelong learner he is today.

Over his 100 years, Carrus’s occupations have included steelworking, researching, writing (including poetry), translating foreign languages, and performing as a musician. He learned to play the piano at the age of 91 and the organ at the age of 96.

Carrus has always been interested in local politics and he wrote many letters to the editor protesting what he considered unfair or unjust practices by local politicians which affected the lives of citizens of Dunkirk. He served on the Dunkirk Board of Education for five years in the 1970s and was honored with a Service Award. He has also received a Research Award for the Citizen’s Action Board.

Carrus has poems in the National Library of Poetry and has published a book of poetry by the name of “Whispers and Afterthoughts.” He received the Golden Medallion from The Famous Poets’ Society for Poet of the Year in 2001. Three of his poems were set to music and are part of the American album recorded by HillTop Records of Hollywood, Calif. He is also the author of “Distinction of Living Things,” which is an English translation from the Latin “Elementa Philosophiae” from Aristotle to Sr. Thomas Aquinas and has written a booklet, “Stress.”

Carrus is still a very active, intelligent man who is on the go from morning to night. He is currently the president of the Resident Council at the Chautauqua County Home. His newest projects include working on a “Book of Ethics” and studying math.