The secret to a long life is laughter

Veteran celebrates 99th birthday

Some people have gone on record crediting their long life spans to their diets, hydrating habits, or genes, but one Shelton resident said laughter has kept him alive for the past 99 years.

Stanley Czerniawski of Shelton celebrated his 99th birthday his family on a sunny afternoon July 3.

Czerniawski was born July 5, 1917, in Easthampton, Mass.  He was the eldest of three boys and one girl. The family moved to Riverhead, Long Island, where he went to school, went fishing with his dad and worked. He recalls going on many early morning fishing trips with his father and collecting loads of fish that washed up on shore.

Like many, Stanley quit high school during the Depression to help support his family.

When World War II began, he and his two brothers joined the Army Air Corps, where he became a Head Mechanic working on B-29s. One of the most technologically advanced airplanes of World War II, the B-29 had many new features, including guns that could be fired by remote control, according to It was one of the largest aircraft operational during World War II.

Being a mechanic on the B-29, Stanley said he saw many men go off to war. He explained that part of his job was to train many of the young soldiers to repair the B-29’s. He added that it was difficult knowing they were going overseas to fight while he was not. One of his Stanley’s fondest memories was that of a General who wouldn’t let any other person work on his plane but him.

To this date, Stanley said he loves to watch his grandchildren play and says he physically feels good. He currently has tremors, dementia, and is hard of hearing, but doesn’t let that stop him from going out to a restaurant or attending a family function.

His daughter, Marian Uss, said it can be tough looking after her dad at times, but he’s family and her family does the best they can to make sure he’s getting the help he needs.

“We’re very fortunate to still have him here with us,” said Marian said his daughter, Marian Uss, who looks after Czerniawski.

Marian said along with Stanley’s continuous laughter, her dad rarely lets anything bother or get him upset, and she thinks that could factor into his long life.

Two of Stanley’s favorite sayings are, “every day’s a holiday,” and “smile and the world smiles with you.” Marian said he lived his life by those sayings and his smile was contagious.

He married the love of his life, Vera, on April 10, 1944. After the war, they moved to Bridgeport, where he worked for Remington Arms. The couple had four children. Vera died in 2004.

Along with an immense amount of love for his family, Stanley also loved to dance, especially the polka. He and Vera went to many polka dances around the country.

Stanley was known as  the “Candy Man” by many because he handed out bags of candy to just about everyone he came in contact with.