GLENVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — He fought in World War II over seven decades ago. Now he’s turning 103. On Monday, a Glenville nursing home honored that service.

Wheeled by an aide into a room full of his peers, there was something in store for John Marciniak. It was a not-so-surprise birthday party, commemorating his more than a century on Earth. 


“John has been our oldest man in the facility for a few years now, and even when he was 99 he said well, I’m 100 so I’m coming to the centenarian’s party,” Tracee Denny, activities director at Glendale nursing home, said.

Marciniak was a B-17 waist gunner in World War II. Though his hearing isn’t sharp anymore, his memory is — and you ought to hear the stories Marciniak has to tell.

“One of the side gunners caught a German Nazi bullet, and he died in my arms. My tears were all over him, because he was a good buddy of mine,” he recalled.

For John, this is something that kids growing up got to experience, but he didn’t.

Aide: “How do you feel that we threw a party for you today?”
John: “Oh, I’m very happy about it. As a youngster, I never had parties.” 

For Denny, working with the elderly is like a birthday gift. 

“The elderly are great. They all have a story. He has a great story of the military and the last 103 years of his life. He has a lot to talk about,” they said.

Want to live as long as Mr. Marciniak? Well, he’s got some advice for you!

“My secret in life is to do a lot of walking outside. Brisk walking, and a lot of that. And I used to go for five mile walks…” he said.

Even at his age, John still enjoys sweet treats like ice cream, and when his son comes to take him on rides.