Carl Berner, a former toolmaker, toy-maker, factory owner and civic activist who achieved his greatest fame for simply staying alive, died at his home in Middle Village, Queens, on Monday, 20 days shy of his 111th birthday.
Mr. Berner, who immigrated from Germany in 1928, was believed to be the oldest man in the city. It was not immediately clear who now holds that title. (There are several women in the city who are older, first among them Susannah Mushatt Jones of Brooklyn, who is 113 and a half years old.)
Mr. Berner was born on Jan. 27, 1902. His wife, Margaret, died in 1987. His daughter, Emily, survives him. In 2006, when The Daily News asked him the secret of his longevity, he replied: “I have no secret. I live a normal life.”
When City Room interviewed Mr. Berner in 2010, he sat at the table in his dining room, lined with awards and plaques, demonstrated with weathered hands how he used to cut plush material to make stuffed animals, and spoke sparely but tellingly of the arc of his years. “Even though life is disgusting sometimes,” he said, “I’ll get up again.”