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Al Klugiewicz, an Erie native who landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy and was later considered the 13th oldest living man in the United States, died Sunday surrounded by his family at the Erie Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Klugiewicz was 108 years old.

Born on June 14, 1916, and raised on Erie’s Lower East Side, Klugiewicz joined the 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiment, where he served on horseback in the 1930s, and rode a horse in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second inaugural parade.

He chose the cavalry when he joined the Army because “I didn’t want to run anymore, so I chose the cavalry,” he said in a 2021 interview with the Erie Times-News.

From 2015: From horseback to Normandy: 105-year-old veteran from Erie County remembers his military service

When World War II broke out, Klugiewicz was recalled to the regular army and served with the U.S. 83rd Infantry Division. He landed in Normandy less than two weeks after the initial D-Day invasion and later took part in the Battle of the Bulge.

“I saw a lot of people confused (in Normandy),” Klugiewicz said for an Erie Times-News article in early June. “People were getting in each other’s way. The Germans were still up there bombarding us with artillery.”

After the war, Klugiewicz returned to Lawrence Park Township, where he married his wife, Eleanor. The couple raised three sons – Gregory, Timothy and Thomas – in a house that Klugiewicz built himself.

From June: ‘He fought back’: Erie-area veteran survives COVID-19 twice and prepares for his 108th birthday

He worked for General Electric for about 40 years, helping to produce refrigerators and assemble engines for nuclear submarines. In his spare time, Klugiewicz built model airplanes and learned languages.

Klugiewicz also enjoyed attending meetings of his cavalry regiment and infantry division.

At the time of his death, Klugiewicz was the 13th oldest living man in the United States, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

Obituary: Al Klugiewicz

Visiting hours will be Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Kloecker-Bailey Funeral Home and Crematory, 4396 Iroquois Ave.

A funeral mass is planned for Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Casimir Church, 629 Hess Ave., followed by burial at Calvary Cemetery.

Contact David Bruce at [email protected]. Follow him on X @ETNBruce.