CORNING | Corning Inc. Chairman and CEO Wendell Weeks on Wednesday honored company employees whose service began 50 and even 75 years ago.

The company referred to them as the “Class of ’42” and the “Class of ’67.”

The event was held at the Corning Museum of Glass auditorium.

“This luncheon is one of my favorite traditions of Corning,” Weeks said. “You have all played a key role in the company’s success, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to recognize you for your service.”

Out of 269 employees to be honored, just under 70 were able to be in attendance at the luncheon.

Weeks spent time with each one, and in many cases seemed to know them personally.

Speaking to “Class of ’42” member Eileen Hultzman, who used to work in payroll, he seemed put off by her formality.

“It’s Wendell,” he told her. “Especially to the person who used to give me my paycheck.”

The 75-year “Class of ’42” included: Lon J. Bennett, Rose M. DiMaggio, Mary N. Edger, Samuel J. Encrapera, Anthony P. Gouveia, Charles E. Grinnell, Hultzman, Bernard B. Jones, Doris A. Kent, Louise S. Maloney, Donald E. Palme, Emogene D. Reynolds, Anthony S. Ruocco, Robert L. Saunders, Lambert S. Scouten and Robert B. Scouten.

Nine members of the 75-year class were in attendance Wednesday; company officials noted the previous high was four.

Weeks noted that when those employees began working for the company, a loaf of bread cost just 12 cents, a new car $920 and a house just over $4,000.

“Class of ’42” member Donald Palme had kind words for the CEO -- mostly.

“Keep up the good work,” he said. “But you could make us more money.”

And “Class of ’67” member Donald Levantovich, who spent years working with “Class of ’42” member Lon Bennett, simply told Weeks, “I’ll see you in 25 years.”

Weeks also shared a personal moment with “Class of ’67” member Gloria Stalford.

“Gloria used to work with my wife,” he told the attendees,” and she was pointing out how much nicer my wife is.”

Each member of the “Class of ’67” was presented with a $1,000 check, and each member of the “Class of ’42” with a $2,500 check.

Company officials said this year’s honorees represent a total of 13,850 years of service.