Remembering Pat Vella

1:48 AM, Dec 21, 2013   |    comments
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  • Pat Vella played football at USC from 1946-1949
  • In the 2009 Spring Game, Eric Norwood and the Gamecocks bonded with former players including Pat Vella

(WLTX) --- Pat Vella was the Iron Man of the USC fan base.

Vella played at USC from 1946-49 under Rex Enright and after his career ended, he made Columbia his home.

For 63 years, if there was a game at Williams-Brice Stadium, Pat was there.

The owner of Vella's Restaurant and Tavern in Cayce passed away Wednesday at the age of 89.

A World War II veteran, Vella's career at USC began after his service ended.

A native of the Chicago area, one of Vella's close friends was also from that area - running back Steve Wadiak who left his mark on the USC record books.

Vella's mark was left in the Cayce community where he always greeted his customers with a genuine smile and an open heart. 

His friends will tell you Pat was always there to deliver a kind word with his soft-spoken voice that was powerful in its delivery.

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