Deerfield man who lived life simply leaves more than $1 million to area hospitals


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Arthur John Pultorak didn't need the latest technology or the latest trends to make him happy. It was the simplest things in life that made his day.

His attorney says that's why he was able to donate more than $1 million to two area hospitals following his death.

Pultorak, of Deerfield, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Poland, did not come from wealth, and lived much of his life with few expenses.

When his parents came to America, they purchased a farm on Route 8, one that Pultorak worked on until 1966 when he chose to stop and begin working at the state hospital as an attendant. His work at the state hospital continued until retiring in 1990.

The farm paid for long ago, Pultorak's attorney, Mark Wolber, said there were few expenses in his life.

"He had an old truck," Wolber said. "He did not go out to dinner, did not travel. He had no running water in his house."

Wolber said during the time he knew Pultorak, the man ate Meals on Wheels, primarily, and the only working appliance in his home was the freezer compartment of his refrigerator.

"All he did was listen to AM radio and read books," Wolber said.

He was not a recluse by any means, Wolber stated, adding that Pultorak frequently spent time outside when the weather was nice and would often stop to chat with those who stopped along the road.

On Thursday, at the Utica Roasting Company on Genesee Street, Wolber, who handled Pultorak's will following a chance phone call in 1985, presented the checks for the local medical institutions. The two were not great friends. Wolber says the only reason they came into contact was because Pultorak had listened to Wolber's then-AM radio show and called him up, asking to have a will created.

Pultorak passed away on December 5, 2010 at the age of 83, but just a little more than a month later, St. Elizabeth Medical Center received $510,240.83 while Faxton-St. Luke's Hospital received $1,020,481.66 from Pultorak's estate. Originally, Pultorak had planned on having the money be divided into thirds among the area's then-three hospitals. However, Faxton and St. Luke's have since merged, which meant the merged hospital received two-thirds of the distributed money.

Wolber says Pultorak had not direct connection with the hospitals, and did not have a direct reason as to why he would leave so much of his lifetime's savings to them. He could only theorize.

"I never asked him that question," Wolber said, but offered some theories. "Two factors. He had a keen interest in health. He got a lot of health related publications, Harvard Medical newsletter, several health-related publications. A lot of books he had were health books. I think it was because of his interest in health and he wanted to help people in the area."

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