SOUTH CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. — A local family is celebrating the life and legacy of one of their own after 109 years.

Augie Barberi died Saturday one month short of 110 surrounded by loved ones who considered him to be their greatest American hero.

Barberi was born in 1912, two years before the start of World War I.

He was one of five children, born to Italian immigrants Augustine and Anna. They died when he was just a child.

After immigrating to the U.S., he went to work for steel mills and factories on the South Side then eventually General Electric. Mild-mannered and civic-minded, Augie volunteered for many organizations.

WGN’s Pat Elwood got to know Barberi when he was in his late 90’s while living in South Chicago Heights and they stayed in touch over the years.

Upon being asked what the key to his longevity was — he said he had no idea other than perhaps two glasses of red wine and a light meal every day.”

His favorite president? Harry Truman.

His wife Ida passed away in 1995. Their legacy includes two children, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Augie made a refrigerator on the line that he brought home that lasted 60 years without a single repair.

He will be laid to rest next week.