Flushing House resident celebrates her 100th year

By Gabrielle Prusak

For Flushing House resident Kate Tuchman’s 100th birthday, it will not only take one party but two parties to recognize her achievements in education.

Tuchman has been an active member in the city education system since 1943 and was honored by President Barack Obama this year.

On Saturday, Tuchman will have her first party at the rooftop lounge of Flushing House with close friends and family. This event will create the opportunity for her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and extended family of multiple generations to come together in her honor.

Her second party will be on her actual birthday, July 16, and will be celebrated with the new friends and family she has found while living at Flushing House.

Tuchman was born July 16, 1914, and grew up in the Bronx and then moved to Brooklyn. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1934 and then followed her father’s footsteps in entering the garment industry for a short time. On Christmas Day in 1935, Tuchman married Artie Tuchman.

Tuchman then started to work at PS 69 in Jackson Heights while having two children at home. As she was working she continued going to graduate school and soon became a school supervisor shortly after graduating.

Her career took a huge leap in 1960 when she was given the position of principal for PS 184 in Harlem. All the hard work and effort she had made in that school brought national attention to her, so much so that in April 1964 Tuchman was invited by former first lady Lady Bird Johnson to speak at the White House.

Tuchman’s speech was on the issues facing minority children in poor, urban neighborhoods at the time. A lot of the goals and suggestions she spoke about in her speech have become a part of the standard model of teaching today.

Obama honored her on the 50th anniversary of the speech, noting in a personal letter that “progress in America has not come easily, but has resulted from the collective efforts of women and men who challenged our conscience.”

The letter continued, “You are part of a generation that sought to ensure every child — regardless of the neighborhood they lived in — had access to a quality education, and I trust you take pride in adding your voice to that movement.”

Even after losing her husband in 1966, Tuchman has enjoyed a full and rewarding life by traveling the world following her retirement in 1977. She has also been active with her family, was an avid tennis player up until the last few years and worked with the Retired School Superintendents Association up until last year.

Tuchman has two children, four grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and dozens of younger, extended family members who continue to be a part of her long life.

Flushing House, where she is a resident, is the largest, nonprofit, independent living retirement residence in the state.