NY woman turns 100 after more than a dozen brushes with cancer

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CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) — Eileen Hultzman entered rarified air Sunday, turning 100-years old. After being born and raised in Corning, New York, she joins the nearly 100,000 centenarians in the U.S.

Hultzman is no stranger to the area. She has lived in the same house for her entire life and she loves the local community.

Eileen’s parents, Mary and Frank, came to Corning by way of Toronto after she and her family fled the Potato Famine in Ireland.  Frank’s family has been in America since the 1800’s. After being married in 1910, they had seven children and Eileen is the youngest and the only surviving sibling of the family. 

Eileen had a long career in the payroll department at Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated).

“Corning is the most beautiful place to live,” said Hultzman. “Corning Incorporated is super. I worked at Corning Inc. for 43 years and I received my 75-year pin about four years ago. If God permits and I can go one more year, I will get my 80-year pin from Corning.”

Eileen and other family members have over 400 years of combined service at the company. Her grandfather helped blow the first light bulbs.

While she was in good spirits, the road to 100 was not easy.

“I had a brush with cancer 14 times,” said Hultzman. “I never had chemo and the only time I had radiation was for my breast [cancer].”

Not only has she beaten cancer, but also COVID-19. While she has had many physical challenges, her mind is as sharp as ever.

Eileen shared how she has lived for so long with a massive grin on her face.

“Because I didn’t get married and have kids,” said Hultzman. “Try to take care of yourself. I never smoked or drank alcoholic beverages. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it or not, but smoking would probably be it. Take care of yourself. Make sure you follow up on your health.”

A common question: what is the meaning of life? For Eileen, it is simple.

“Love each other and try to get along with each other,” said Hultzman. “[Regardless of] nationalities, race, and everything else, people should try to get along with each other. Life is short. For me, it happened to be long, but it isn’t for everybody. I would recommend that people try and pray more and maybe ask for God’s help.”

We will be ready for see Eileen again when she turns 101 and gets her 80-year pin from Corning next year.

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