Lawrence “Larry” Manchio, a Wilkes-Barre native who resides in Alexandria, Va., is celebrating his 100th birthday today, April 24, 2018.
Mr. Manchio was the second oldest of eight children and lived on Metcalfe Street. As an 11-year-old, he was selling newspapers on the street the same day the stock market crashed in 1929. The Great Depression hit hard by 1932, and when his father became terminally ill, Larry left eighth grade to work as a plumber’s apprentice to help feed his family.
In 1934, Mr. Manchio worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) clearing land to build Skyline Drive. Within a few months, the Corps of Engineers in Pennsylvania hired him to clean up flood damage from the Susquehanna River. When the project was completed in 1937, he relocated to Alexandria, Va., to begin construction of National Airport.
Mr. Manchio lived in an Old Town Alexandria boarding house and would walk 4 miles to and from National Airport daily. He met his future wife, Diva DiFelice, while attending Sunday Mass, and they married on Jan. 23, 1942.
He entered the Army in February 1943. After training, he joined his unit in Australia and fought with MacArthur’s forces through New Guinea, Borneo, Morotai and the Phillipines before landing in Japan for the occupation.
Discharged in 1946, Mr. Manchio resumed working for the Corps of Engineers and became supervisor of 53 people by the time he retired in 1973. His specialty was the water system supplying Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia.
In retirement, Mr. Manchio helped others and landscaped a meticulous yard, which received numerous beautification awards from the city of Alexandria. His wife, “Dee,” of 71 years, passed away in May 2013. Today, he enjoys reading, current events and rooting for the Nationals.