'He is an inspiration to us all': 102-year-old CT man gets second COVID-19 vaccine

DARIEN — With receiving his second dose of the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine, Darien’s Alfred Andreoli, nearly 103, has lived through two pandemics and a world war.

As he received his vaccine last week at Darien’s Mather Center, his daughter, Patricia Fern, said his secret to longevity is “don’t worry so much.”

Andreoli was born in April 1918 in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., at the start of the flu pandemic. Unlike the coronavirus, which tends to affect children less, the 1918 influenza pandemic caused a high mortality rate in those younger than age 5. It also heavily affected those aged 20 to 40, and those over 65.

It is estimated about 500 million people, or one-third, of the world’s population became infected with the 1918 flu virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide, with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.

Andreoli later served in World War II as a demolition expert and core engineer. He was stationed all over Europe as well as North Africa. Andreoli met Fern’s mother, Mary, in Darien when he came to the town looking for work after the war, and settled in Darien when they got married. They had three children — Patricia, Doreen and JamesMary died in 2009.

Andreoli coached little league for his sons in Darien and spent his career in highway maintenance for state Department of Transportation. He also worked as a mason.

His jobs always kept him in very good physical shape, Fern said.

“He always lived a clean life,” she said.

Fern and her husband James received the first dose the same day as her father as part of the 65 and older group. Most of the Andreoli/Fern family has been healthy throughout the pandemic. Fern sister and two of her nieces had COVID-19 but recovered well.

Ali Ramsteck, the head of Darien’s Human Services, has been helping coordinate the town’s vaccine clinics. Human Services also has served as the pinpoint for senior resources throughout the pandemic.

“It was a privilege to see Alfred receive his second COVID-19 vaccination — at 102 years old he is an inspiration to us all,” she said.

Ramsteck said it “has been an amazing experience being part of the team coordinating vaccine administration clinics in Darien.”

“We have tried to make it as simple as possible for the seniors in our community to arrange vaccination appointments. They have all been very grateful and are hopeful to safely visit family and friends in the near future,” she said.

Andreoli, Fern said, always encouraged his family to try to be stress-free.

“He always said, don’t stress so much. He’s always been a very calming presence for us. Even when my mother was sick. He’s always been the one to calm us, and now we are going to be here for him,” she said.