MADISON (WKOW) -- A spirited man who has made his mark on our area, volunteering for decades at various organizations, celebrates his 100th birthday this month.
The classic American story, Abe Landsman was born in New York City to Russian immigrants and worked in the garment industry, before moving to Florida and then to Madison nearly 25 years ago. Wherever he lived, there were three things he always seemed to do: volunteer, dance and fall in love.
"Do I have an alternative?" asked Abe Landsman, when asked whether he liked being 100 years old, a milestone he reached on January 8. "You can't stop it."
After his wife died in 1990, Landsman moved to Madison to live closer to his son Howard, who immediately encouraged his father to volunteer in the community. Landsman worked in the library at Schenk Elementary School, Jewish Social Services, United Way and the Madison Senior Center.
"If you have the opportunity, why let it go? You feel better. They feel better. You're doing a good deed, and the world is better for it," Landsman said.
Mayor Paul Soglin declared a day in his honor, making Abraham Landsman day January 12, the day his friends and family threw him a centennial party. Another politician, then-Mayor Sue Baumann recognized Landsman as being the most senior employee of the city in 2002.
"It's the Mediterranean diet; it's exercise; it's friendship; it's love," Landsman said, revealing his secret to making it to 100. "All my life, I was with a woman. I mean, what more can you ask?"
Landsman was married for more than 40 years to his wife Gloria, was with a woman in Florida for six years, and a Madison woman named Sarah Cutler for 17 years. Landsman and Cutler used to dance the "foxtrot, waltz, polka – everything" together at the Madison Senior Center.
"She was the perfect dancer," Landsman said. "She made me look good."
Cutler passed away nine months ago, and Landsman has since found himself with three new female companions. Landsman says he has dinner with the women, all in their 90s, every evening, but he only has eyes for one.
"But she's not interested," Landsman said. "I moved myself over to be closer to her and she moved me back. She said no funny works. Forget about any hanky panky."
But Landsman isn't worried: "I got time," he said.
"You learn to adjust to everything that happens. That's what it is. You don't worry about what happened today. You don't worry about what's going to happen tomorrow because that never happens anyway."
Landsman says he expects to live until 105.