General Motors has 455,382 retirees and surviving spouses in the United States, but none has a lengthier connection to the world’s largest carmaker than Ernest Pusey.

Associated Press (AP) said Pusey, who turns 109 on Wednesday, is GM’s oldest retiree.

The Bradenton, Florida, resident went to work for the carmaker in 1926 – 18 years after its founding – after serving with the Navy in World War I, AP said, adding that he worked at several plant jobs before retiring in May 1958 as a tool and die maker at Chevrolet’s former Plant Four in Flint, Michigan.

Pusey reportedly said he still remembers the early days of the industry, building vehicles that people would hardly recognise today. He said he appreciated his time with the carmaker.

“I remember some of the strikes,” he said on Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. “Outside of that, the memories are pretty good.”

AP said Pusey was honoured on Tuesday during a birthday party at Bradenton’s America Legion post. To commemorate the occasion, Gary Cowger, president of GM North America, and United Auto Workers vice president Richard Shoemaker sent Pusey a letter of congratulations.

Of GM’s former employees and surviving spouses, 240 were 100 years or older as of March 1, the company told AP – of those, 93 are actual retirees like Pusey.