SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – On Aug. 27, Renato Favero turned 100 years old. He celebrated his birthday by reliving his younger days, returning to his high school and playing a game of football.
“I always wanted to play sports when I was a kid,” Favero said. “I practiced, kept in shape and everything, ready to play and I loved sports.”
It was part of the alumni football game at Lanphier High School in Springfield. Favero graduated in 1941. He was a member of the first class to finish freshman through senior year at the school.
He went to work as a sheet metal worker. Then, Favero served as a combat engineer in World War II.
“We were coached in building bridges and repairing roads, removing minefields, German minefields, and checking bridges,” Favero said. “Making sure the bridges were all right for the tanks to go over.”
He came back to Springfield after returning from his time overseas. Decades after he finished at Lanphier, he got back on the field.
This was his third alumni game and he was more than ready.
“My daughter Collette said, ‘You going to play in the alumni game?’ Favero said. “I said, ‘Sure, heck yes. I’ll play.’”
He made his way across the field wearing a special shirt with Lanphier and 100 on it, scoring a two point conversion with the help of two of his sons.
“I run down the field, get the ball from the quarterback and then I’d spike it,” Favero said. “Big deal.”
His family was there supporting him the entire time.
“It’s been great to watch him and to know that he knows everything that’s going on,” said Donna Pforr, one of Favero’s daughters. “He makes all of his own decisions, and he chooses whether he’s going to play or not play. He needed a little extra help this year, but he made it and he’s all smiles.”
Favero has been married to his wife Rita for 76 years, and they have a pretty big family: nine children, 24 grandchildren and 33 great grandchildren.