The centenarian in Washington Township attributes “good Italian genes” to an energetic lifestyle for longevity

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Frank Pugliano Sr. from Washington Township doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet.

The new centenarian remains almost completely self-sufficient and also does his weekly lawn mowing work alone.

“I have to trim too,” said Pugliano.

Pugliano, a World War II veteran, celebrated his 100th birthday with a huge picnic party in Boyce Park on Sunday. His birthday was Monday.

“I loved seeing my friends and family,” said Pugliano of the party on Sunday.

Pugliano immigrated to America from Italy at the age of 6 and graduated from Penn Hills High School in 1942.

In high school, he met the love of his life, Mary Strough. They were married for 65 years and raised two children together.

“She was my angel,” said Pugliano about his wife, who died in 2011.

Pugliano joined the army during World War II and served in the Pacific for three years. He survived a Japanese torpedo attack on his convoy mission to Luzon, Philippines, and said he saw many young men lose their lives that day.

Pugliano’s signature accessory is a WWII veteran’s hat.

“He wears this hat everywhere,” said Frank’s son Frank Pugliano Jr.

Frank Pugliano Jr. traveled from Colorado to celebrate the birthday celebrations.

“His health is remarkable and he doesn’t look that old. His mindset, everything… it’s absolutely amazing, ”said Pugliano Jr ..

The elder Pugliano said his other angel was Maggie, his 15 year old dog.

“I’ve had her since she was a baby. This is my little angel, ”he said, holding Maggie on his lap in his house on Monday.

Pugliano worked as a diesel mechanic specializing in heavy equipment.

He plays four instruments: organ, harmonica, electric guitar and saxophone.

He said his lifestyle was made up of “good Italian genes” and staying active.

“The doctor said to me, ‘Whatever you do, do it,’” Pugliano said of his excellent health, apart from his bad knees.

“I stay busy. I mow my own grass. My diet is what I want to eat, I eat, ”he said.

Pugliano said his favorite dishes are three eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast and coffee at the Kings Family Restaurant and pasta fagioli at his favorite restaurant, The Olive Garden.

Pugliano uses an iPad, has a Facebook account, and is tech savvy.

“This is how I keep in touch with my relatives,” said Pugliano.

He was employed by High View Acres for 15 years, until he was 98, and ran the clubhouse in the shared apartment from 55 years.

Neighbor and long-time friend Denise Molnar checks Pugliano daily and surprised him on his birthday by decorating his front yard with a 100th birthday sign and numerous American flags.

“She’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had,” Pugliano said of Molnar.

Joyce Hanz is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Joyce at 724-226-7725, jhanz@triblive.com, or on Twitter.