Francis Anthony Caruso, known to his friends simply as Tony, is the oldest resident of Wilmot at age 95. He was born on April 7, 1917 in Newton, Massachusetts and raised there as the third in a line of eight children.
Tony was honored last month by the Wilmot Historical Society with a certificate attesting to his place in town history, accompanied by a picture of him holding the Wilmot Boston Post Cane. He will be receiving both the framed certificate and the picture to keep, while a duplicate copy of both will be hung in the Wilmot Town Offices for all to see. Congratulations, Tony!
Tony has had a remarkable life so far. The information that follows comes from a piece written about him in the 2007 Intertown Record Wilmot Bicentennial Souvenir Issue and a recent face-to-face interview by Liz Kirby.
Tony was born to Rose and Domenic Caruso, emigrants from the Calabria area of southern Italy (located at the instep of the boot). He was educated in Newton, Massachusetts, later continuing to train as a teacher at Fitchburg State Teachers College. He taught woodworking for 20 years at Quincy Vocational High School and also taught adult education at various other schools. He speaks Italian and English equally well.
During World War II, Tony served in the US Navy as a cook on the tank landing ship LST-334 during the Guam and Okinawa battles. In 1947, Tony built the first of the many houses he has built in the area, this one on Bradley Lake in Andover.
He built his own house in Wilmot on 14 acres of land he purchased for $250 in 1956 after looking for just the right spot. “We shook hands, and that closed the deal,” he remembers. This is where he resides today, with frequent visits by friends and the constant company of three female guinea pigs (Hazel, Heidi, and Holly). Tony has raised many creatures over the years, including guinea pigs, rabbits, and full-sized pigs.
Tony raised three boys and a daughter, all of whom are still living. Tom, Frank, and John are retired from careers as a principal, US Air Force serviceman, and US Marine Corps serviceman, respectively. Tony’s daughter Toni is an engineer, having earned her degree from Tufts University. All four are residing in Connecticut or Massachusetts now. Sisters Eleanor and Rose still live in Connecticut.
Tony always loved Wilmot and the surrounding area and considers it home. As an outdoorsman, hunting and fishing and splitting wood are activities he has enjoyed throughout the years. All of his friends wish him well and congratulate him on being the oldest male resident in Wilmot.
Andover is still looking for its oldest resident! If you are or know of someone in their mid-nineties or older, please contact the Andover Town Administrator at 735-5332.