Turning 100-years-old on New Year's Day

By danny restivo



After the clock struck midnight, and countless people began the new year with noisemakers, toasts and kisses, a local woman marked an even rarer milestone.

Fay Kirkorsky became the newest Mahoning Valley centenarian today.

“I hope to be well for another 10 years,” she said while laughing.

Although she needs a wheelchair to get around and her hearing isn’t as good as it used to be, the 100-year-old stills enjoys “The Price is Right,” the occasional bloody Mary, and her family, which includes three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Kirkorsky was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Jan. 1, 1913, to Russian immigrant parents, Max and Ida Cohen.

The oldest of three sisters, Kirkorsky said she met her husband in her early 20s after coming to Youngstown to visit family. She married Isadore Kirkorsky on Dec. 24, 1933. For nearly 60 years, she and her husband operated a Best Foods in Campbell, while raising their son David Kirkorsky.

David died in 2003, but his wife, Barbara Kirkorsky, visits her mother-in law often.

Barbara married David in 1960, and she said the two would plan their New Year’s Eve carefully, because of his mother’s pending birthday.

“It was always difficult because my husband and I would go out New Year’s Eve and would have to be ready to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday the next day,” she said. “All the restaurants would be closed so I would at least try and bake her a cake.”

Barbara said she married David in her early 20’s and had little experience cooking. With the help of her mother-in-law, Barbara learned how to make mandelbread, a Yiddish cookie similar to biscotti, she said.

“Her knowledge and wisdom have been a real help for me throughout the years,” said Barbara.

Fay credits her longevity to good genes and a healthy bout of activity, which included golf and bowling. The physical activity allowed her to live by herself until she turned 96, when she moved into Heritage Manor. Since moving in, she claims to be one of the best bingo players the manor has.

“I still win a lot,” she said.

On Wednesday, Heritage Manor will host a birthday party for the 100-year-old resident. Barbara said she is going to fly in two of her daughters to surprise their grandmother, while another will send their birthday wishes via Skype from Connecticut.

“It’s not often family members get to experience a 100-year-old birthday party,” said Barbara.

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