A native of Omaha , Joe Scarpello wrestled in high school for coach Allie Morrison, 1928 Olympic champion. After high school, Joe joined the Air Force and flew 18 missions over Germany during World War II.
When the war ended, Scarpello enrolled at the University of Iowa , where he was a teammate of 2002 inductee Bob Geigel. The former Hawkeye won two NCAA championships and was a four-time All-American as a wrestler. He was also the first Iowan to win four Big Ten Conference titles.
Scarpello was an alternate on the 1948 Olympic team. Soon after, he turned professional and embarked upon a 25-year career. Wrestling mainly for the AWA, Joe was a top attraction all across the Midwest , the South and in Japan .
A consummate wrestler, Joe stuck to basic wrestling most of the time he was in the ring. He and Verne Gagne were one of the world’s top tag teams for several years. Scarpello was respected far and wide for his wrestling abilities and for his gentlemanly ways, both in and out of the ring.
Joe Scarpello died in 1999 and is survived by his wife, Eileen, three children and sixteen grandchildren.