102-year old ascends 103 floors to cross Sears off her bucket list

Willie Tillman wanted to visit the top of the Sears Tower. Now, at the age of 102, she can scratch it off her bucket list.
May 7, 2014 1:11:00 PM PDT
For more than 40 years, Willie Tillman from Gary, Ind., wanted to visit the top of the Sears Tower. Now, at the age of 102, she can scratch it off her bucket list.

Now called the Willis Tower, millions of visitors go to the Skydeck, but probably never one like Tillman, who lives at the Golden Living Center in Merrillville, Ind. For more than 40 years the top item on her bucket list has been to travel those 103 stories straight up.

"You know, I think I'm gonna take the elevator," Tillman said while laughing after being asked if she wanted to walk or take the elevator.

Thanks to the Willis Tower Skydeck, Tillman and her family and friends headed to those express non-stop elevators that rocket you up 1,400 feet in about a minute. Tillman handles it like an astronaut.

"I like it ... I like it," Tillman said as the elevator climbed all 103 floors. "That's the greatest."

Tillman was born in 1912 in Mississippi and was raised in Arkansas. In 1940, she moved to Gary and worked in the steel mills for 28 years.

"I have never been up this high. And in the daytime," Tillman said. "I didn't know you could see as much in the daytime."

This was her wish way back in 1973 when the Sears Tower opened. She would drive by and look up, longing for this day that has finally come.

"Oh, Chicago. From up here, it's just as overcrowded as the first day I came to Chicago," Tillman said.

She's 102-years-old and she's 103 stories up. And speaking of stories, does she have stories to tell now.

"This has been lots of fun. Great. I love it," Tillman said with a laugh. "I'll be back next year."

When we left Tillman she was relaxing on the Ledge. She might still be there.


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