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Published: Wednesday, 4/6/2011

2 milestone birthdays to be celebrated

1 woman turns 100, another 105

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Irma Austin, left, who will be 100 on Sunday, and Esther Hoffman, whose 105th birthday is Wednesday, live at the Lutheran Home at Toledo. They both say they enjoy games. Irma Austin, left, who will be 100 on Sunday, and Esther Hoffman, whose 105th birthday is Wednesday, live at the Lutheran Home at Toledo. They both say they enjoy games.
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Irma Austin isn't sure what all of the fuss is about.

"One hundred isn't too old," said Mrs. Austin, who will become a centenarian Sunday. "People think it's too old, but it isn't. I don't feel 100."

Mrs. Austin and another Lutheran Home at Toledo resident, Esther Hoffman, are celebrating momentous birthdays this month. Mrs. Hoffman turns 105 Wednesday but has little insight on longevity other than keeping a positive attitude and good nutrition.

"I don't know if the honey does it or not," said Mrs. Hoffman, who prefers it on her morning cereal.

Observed Mrs. Austin: "I better start eating some honey then."

Keep busy and determined, advised Mrs. Austin, who lives in an assisted living apartment and uses a walker to get around.

"I love to read," said the mother of two. "I play bingo, and I walk the halls."

She added: "It's good to be with the other people."

Mrs. Austin was born in Cleveland, but when she was 1, her parents moved the family, which included two older brothers, to her parents' homeland of Hungary. They lived there until she was 10, and she speaks Hungarian.

She used to go to parks and walk on trails. Her late husband, Walter, was a bowler, and they traveled to tournaments.

"I went with him all over," recalled Mrs. Austin, a member of St. Stephen Catholic Church in East Toledo.

Mrs. Hoffman, who lived in a Lutheran Home at Toledo assisted living apartment until about three years ago, was born in Lenawee County's Riga Township. One of four children, including two sisters who lived into their 90s, Mrs. Hoffman grew up on a small farm.

"I'm the only one in my family who lived so long," Mrs. Hoffman said. "I never expected to live this long."

She enjoyed driving when she and her late husband, Otto, traveled.

Pinochle and bunco are among Mrs. Hoffman's favorite activities. The member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in East Toledo used to enjoy sewing, and she made many quilts for Lutheran World Relief.

"I made so many, and I just loved it," said Mrs. Hoffman, who uses a wheelchair. "I would be doing it yet if I was able to get around."

She said while pointing to her head: "I'm thankful I've got that yet."

Mrs. Hoffman reveled in her 100th birthday party and was especially gratified to see people from her church. But Mrs. Austin isn't sure what her relatives have in store for her.

"You never know what they're going to do," she said.



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