At 100 years old, Rockville Centre resident Marty Shulman drives a car, dances and plays Bridge like it’s nobody’s business, according to his friends in Personal Enrichment in Retirement at Hofstra University.
Shulman is the first member in PEIR’s 43-year history to reach age 100. The lifelong learning group organized an afternoon get-together to celebrate his milestone birthday on July 11.
“He always has a twinkle in his eye,” said fellow member Rose Silber, of Jericho. “He’s loved by everyone, and a wonderful asset to PEIR.”
Shulman received a plaque from PEIR Chairman Ed Schwartz, of Rockville Centre, and certificates from local elected officials in honor of his contributions to PEIR, which he joined 28 years ago and remains an active member of.
PEIR is a continuing education group at Hofstra. Seniors can join, give presentations and engage with presentations by their fellow members. PEIR also provides recreation for seniors, with 16 weekly programs at the college — one of them is Shulman’s favorite card game, Bridge, on Fridays.
“It’s the most mentally challenging card game that there is,” said Arnie Fleischer, of Rockville Centre, a good friend and PEIR member. “He has all his marbles and is the best player, even today.”
“Even at 100, he can beat the pants off of me in a game of Bridge,” member Nadine Kagan, of Milbrook, added. “He is inspirational as to the fact that longevity can happen in a healthy, independent way.”
Shulman grew up in Brooklyn and served three years in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He moved to Rockville Centre in 1960 because “he heard nice things, and they turned out to be true,” he said.
He and his wife, Mildred, raised two daughters in Rockville Centre; both have since moved off Long Island. Shulman has four grandchildren and one great-grandson. Another great-grandchild is on the way. Mildred died in 1981 — “it’s not easy being 100,” he noted — and he now lives with his longtime companion, Marcia Wolfson.
Shulman retired in 1991 after holding several jobs over the decades. He began his career as a certified public accountant, and later became the comptroller of Barton’s Candy Company. Then he worked as a mediator in small claims courts.
When he retired, he wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do. That’s when he found PEIR.
“I made the greatest friends there,” he said. “Unfortunately, I’ve outlived many of them. But I have strong memories of meeting very wonderful people who impacted my life.”
His friends at PEIR describe him as a gentle, kind person with a calm demeanor. “You would never hear a bad word out of his mouth, said PEIR member Judy Gilbert, of Valley Stream. “You never hear him raise his voice.”
Jack Hollenberg, of Rockville Centre, met Shulman at the gym when he first joined PEIR about 12 years ago. He recalls Shulman helping him with the workout machines.
“I was a new member of PEIR at Hofstra,” Hollenberg said. “Marty was very welcoming, and made the early times of my membership more enjoyable for assisting me.”
These days, Shulman lives in Rockville Centre during the warm months and Sarasota, Fla., in the winter. Fortunately, his birthday fell on a sunny day that he could celebrate with friends at PEIR.
“He’s a wonderful person,” Gilbert said. “For 100 years old, you should celebrate a lot. We wish him all the best.”