Peter Manchesani rose in the ranks from truck driver for the Union City Public Works, to become its superintendent. He worked for the department for 40 years before retiring in 1974.
The residents of Weehawken’s Housing Authority senior citizens’ housing at 525 Gregory Ave. celebrated his birthday in August.
On hand to celebrate the milestone were his son, daughter, son-in-law, and great granddaughter, along with many of the residents of 525 Gregory Ave.
Union City’s Commissioner of Senior Citizen’s Affairs, Celin J. Valdivia, presented him with a printed testimonial on behalf of Union City Mayor Brian P. Stack.
The son of Italian immigrants, Manchesani was born Aug. 1, 1917, the year the U.S. entered World War I, noted Weehawken Mayor Richard F. Turner, who was on hand to mark the occasion.
Manchesani’s parents owned Manchesani’s Central Fruit Market on 25th Street and Central Avenue in Union City, and the family lived in an apartment upstairs. Every day, young Manchesani would help his father purchase fresh produce for the family market.
‘I lost a good brother’
Manchesani was the youngest of three children. He had a brother, Patrick and a sister, Louise. “I’m the baby,” he said. “I made up my mind I had to make 100 because I lost my brother when he was 48 years old,” he said. “I lost a good brother.”
“He’s always been in really good health,” Dominic Manchesani, of Clifton, said of his father.”He lives a very healthy life. He didn’t drink; he didn’t smoke; he always was very physical; and he worked out a lot.”
Indeed, Manchesani was the picture of youth at his birthday party, walking in on his own, and sporting a hat that read, I’m not old: I’m vintage.
Manchesani was married for 65 years to dressmaker Grace Carmel Capaldo, and, in addition to his son, Dominic, has a daughter, Diana. Both children were on hand to celebrate the centennial. He has four grandchildren. Xena, 13, one of his seven great grandchildren, presented him with a gold and diamond necklace emblazoned with the number “100.”
Manchesani, who moved to Weehawken in 2007, is often found in the mornings in the lobby at 525 Gregory Ave., greeting visitors with small talk and a smile.