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Erie native Al Klugiewicz, U.S. Cavalry and World War II veteran, dies at 108

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Erie native Al Klugiewicz, U.S. Cavalry and World War II veteran, dies at 108

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

Klugiewicz was 108.

Born June 14, 1916, Klugiewicz grew up on Erie’s lower east side. He joined the 3rd U.S. Cavalry Regiment, in which 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 walk anymore so I chose the cavalry,” he said in a 2021 Erie Times-News interview.

From 2015: From horseback to Normandy, Erie County veteran, 105, recalls his Army service

Klugiewicz was called back to the regular Army when World War II broke out and served with the 83rd U.S. Army Infantry Division. He landed in Normandy less than two weeks after the initial D-Day invasion and later participated in the Battle of the Bulge.

“I saw a lot of mixed up people (in Normandy),” Klugiewicz said in early June for an Erie Times-News story. “People were getting in each other’s way. Germans still on the top side, hammering us with artillery.”

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

From June: ‘He’s battled back’: Erie-area veteran survives COVID-19 twice, prepares to turn 108

He worked at General Electric for about 40 years, helping produce refrigerators and assemble motors for atomic submarines. In his free time, Klugiewicz built model aircraft and learned languages.

Klugiewicz also enjoyed attending reunions 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.

Calling hours will be held Thursday from 3-7 p.m. at the Kloecker-Bailey Funeral Home and Crematory, 4396 Iroquois Ave.

A funeral Mass is scheduled Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Casimir Church, 629 Hess Ave. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.

Contact David Bruce at dbruce@timesnews.com. Follow him on X @ETNBruce.

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