McDonald's restaurants are known for kid's birthday parties, but on May 1 at the Manchester Road McDonald's employees held a party for their co-worker, 90-year-old Helen Kukasky.
Friends, family, co-workers and a special guest, Ronald McDonald, gathered for the surprise celebration. Kukasky currently works at the fast food restaurant four days a week. She said she looks forward to co-workers asking about her experience of living through the Great Depression, WWII, or her most recent adventure-her first NASCAR race at the Michigan International Racetrack where she received a tour of the track.
Kukasky was born in Keisterville, Pa. and grew up as a coal miner's daughter. She was one of 11 children. She and her siblings lived in a two bedroom home. One room was for her parents. the other was for all of the children.
The family had no electricity or running water, but they did have an outhouse and a warm coal stove. It was at that stove that they heated buckets of water for their bath night.
At the age of 14 she finished the eighth grade and left her family home to move to the big city, Akron. She lived with her Aunt Mary and Uncle John and earned money by doing housework, laundering and starching the shirts her two uncles wore to their business. They were owners of a small diner in Akron.
At age 16, Kukasky's uncle paid for her to go back to school and earn her license in cosmetology. For the next 66 years she was well known and highly respected as a beautician in the area.
One day in November of 1945 Kukasky went on a blind date with her future husband, Paul. She married him the following March and they shared 43 years together before his death in 1989. The couple raised two daughters and three sons. The family enjoyed trips to explore nature's beauty in Alaska, Hawaii and the Grand Canyon.
Within a year after Paul's death, Kukasky realized she had too much time and energy on her hands to just spend the day at home. She approached a friend to learn more about her work at McDonald's. Kukasky thought a job at the golden arches would be perfect. She was hired and has worked there ever since.
According to co-workers, family and friends Kukasky has the energy and inner strength of someone half her age. Apart from working she sticks to a workout routine and has a very full social calendar that keeps her very active. At the age of 89 she began taking computer classes and is currently communicating through email and surfing the web.
Manager of the restaurant, Romy Phillips said, “Helen continues to work at McDonald's because it takes up her spare time. She likes to stay busy.”
Page 2 of 2 - Even though she loves her work, Kukasky loves having the chance to travel. Phillips said it is probably the favorite part of her life.