Ciocan was born in Galicea, Vâlcea County, Romania, on 10 June 1913 N. S. (28 May 1913 O. S.) as the youngest of several children. During his early childhood, up until the age of seven, he possessed very few clothes. His father died when he was six years old, and his mother followed six years later, leaving Ciocan orphaned at the age of 12.
At a young age, Ciocan worked as a cowherd for “a piece of bread.” He worked at numerous cattle farms until he was 14 years old.
Ciocan was pressured by his older siblings into marrying at the age of 19. His wife was seven years his senior, and owned a plot of land. The couple had six children, three daughters and three sons. At the age of 22, Ciocan was drafted into the army, and endured several training camps before eventually fighting on the front lines in 1941.
In 1994, Ciocan was widowed when his wife died aged 87. He could read without glasses until the age of 103, when his eyesight and hearing began to deteriorate. As a centenarian, he required assistance to perform daily tasks. By his 109th birthday, only two of his daughters and his youngest son were still living.
Ciocan turned 110 in 2023 and became the second male supercentenarian in Romania’s history after Dumitru Comănescu achieved the milestone in 2018. He lives in Bratia din Vale, a small village near his birthplace.