March 01. 2014 7:56PM

Man credited with saving Millyard celebrates 100 years

Joseph Nelson listens to family speak during his 100th birthday celebration, held at Fratello's in Manchester on Saturday. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER - More than 130 friends, relatives and neighbors gathered to celebrate Joseph Francis Nelson's 100th birthday on Saturday at Fratello's in the Millyard.

It was a fitting location to honor the man credited with saving the Millyard, in his former roles as project director for Manchester Housing Authority's Amoskeag Millyard Redevelopment and director of urban renewal for the city.

His daughter, Joan Porter, said Nelson "was absolutely thrilled that so many people took the time out of their day to be there to celebrate his birthday."

There were three birthday cakes - marked with a 1, 0 and 0 - and a smaller cake loaded with 100 candles. "They lit them and he blew them out with no help," Porter said.