Genes with longevity

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Born the 10th of 11 children on Feb. 28, 1920, Elizabeth Toth — now Elizabeth Cummings — recently celebrated her 98th birthday. Forever surrounded and supported by a large and doting family, Cummings is still able to live in the comfort of her own home. While her age and level of independence is unheard of for most, Cummings’ genetics and lifestyle have helped her lead a long and full life, most of which has taken place in the Newcastle area.

Cummings comes from a family of longevity, specifically on her mother’s side, because she had both an uncle and a cousin live to be over 100 years old, as well as her brother John Toth and sister Ella Hansen. Cummings says the secret to a long life is no smoking and no drinking! Instead, she spent most of her days in Newcastle, raising her family, connecting with the community and enjoying her hobbies.

Until age 5, Cummings lived on a farm 30 miles north of Newcastle. She remembers that her family traveled to town by wagon on the dirt road “highway,” and her mother left the farm maybe once a year, a thought that Cummings has trouble fathoming to this day. Her mother and father both immigrated by boat to the United States from Hungary at very young ages, and then later met and married in the U.S.

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