Gerontology Wiki
Antonio Pierro
Antonio Pierro
Birth: 22 February 1896
Forenza, Basilicata, Italy
Death: 8 February 2007
Swampscott, Massachusetts, USA
Age: 110 years, 351 days
Country: Italy ITA United StatesUSA

Antonio Pierro (22 February 1896 – 8 February 2007) was an Italian-born American supercentenarian whose age is validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). He was the oldest known living man in the United States at the time of his death, and he is also the oldest validated man to ever die in the U.S. state of Massachusetts.


Antonio Pierro was born in the Italian town of Forenza, the son of Rocco and Nunzia (Dell'Aquilla) Pierro. His birthdate was recorded as 22 February 1896 in the baptismal records. Pierro claimed, however, that he was seven days older and it took a while to register because he was born at their farm home outside the town and when they returned to Foranza his mother then registered his birth. This cannot be officially verified but was typical of families tending to their land. In any case, Pierro was born in February 1896.

Pierro immigrated to the United States in 1914, and lived in Marblehead, Massachusetts and Swampscott, Massachusetts. In 1917 he inducted into the Army, and trained at Fort Dix before being sent off to combat. Pierro saw action in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel, Uise-Aisne  and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.  Pierro served in France with the 82nd Division A.E.F. American Expeditionary Forces 320th Field Artillery.

He often told stories of an unspent bomb hitting a tree where he sat and falling down beside him without exploding, and tending to two horses for an officer, marching in a parade in England before King George or helping to find lodging for the company officers in a French town after the war. Tony spoke a little French and was fluent in Italian.

One of Tony’s responsibilities was to drive a horse-drawn wagon full of supplies to the front line and bring bodies of deceased soldiers back. On one of his trips, a bomb struck right in front of the horse, killing the horse and saved Tony's life.  Tony had been using this horse and wagon for a while and had become attached to the horse, and it was quite disturbing to see this horse, who had become a companion, die.

Tony’s love for horses was only seconded by the young lady Madelina whom he met, after the war, in one of the French towns close to where his unit was stationed. He would take her dancing many nights or talk for hours with the family. He would also bring his ration of cigarettes to her father.

Returning to the U.S. in 1919, he married Mary Pierre in 1920. She died in 1967, however, and they did not have children. In civilian life, Pierro managed a Boston Pontiac body shop for many years and retired from the General Electric jet engine plant in Lynn in 1961. He was a member of the V.F.W. Post 2005 in Marblehead and IUE Local 21. He was a former member of the American Legion "Redmen" in Swampscott. In 2003 Pierro was awarded the Chevalier Legion of Honor madelion from the French Ambassador to Boston.

In 2006, Pierro celebrated his 110th birthday. Since 30 December 2006 he was the second-oldest living person in the state of Massachusetts, and one of the few remaining combat veterans of World War I anywhere in the world. He became the oldest verified man in the United States on 9 January 2007, following the death of 111-year-old Thomas Nelson, Sr., and on 24 January 2007, when 115-year-old Emiliano Mercado del Toro died, Pierro became the oldest World War I veteran and second-oldest man in the world.    

Antonio Pierro died on 8 February 2007, just a couple weeks shy of his 111th birthday, in Swampscott. At that time he was living with his now 102-year-old brother, Nicholas Pierro.


United States' Oldest Living Man Titleholders (VE)

Charlie Nelson • Charlie Phillips • Mathew Beard • Joe Thomas • Alphaeus Philemon Cole • Alton Gilbert • Oscar DuboisJames Wiggins • Frederick Frazier • Christian Mortensen • Johnson Parks • Walter Richardson • John Painter • John McMorran • Fred Hale • Earl Brush • Moses Hardy • Thomas Nelson • Antonio Pierro • George Francis • Walter Breuning • Shelby Harris • Salustiano Sanchez • Alexander Imich • Conrad Johnson • Wash Wesley • Felix Simoneaux • Frank Levingston • Clarence Matthews • Richard Overton • Henry Tseng • CP Crawford • Irving Piken • Lawrence Brooks • Ezra Hill