96-year-old Cudahy woman shares her secret to longevity

Posted at 10:58 PM, Aug 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-09 23:58:19-04

She's 96 years young and she still drives, and she's still working.

Helen Kenney is a source of inspiration for people of all ages. Helen loves working at Joe's K-Ranch in Cudahy.

We surprised Helen with a visit and all three of her adult children showed up.

Helen's youngest daughter Pat Mueller told us about her mom. She called Helen "Milwaukee's Betty White."

The adoring grandmother and great-grandmother enjoys working. K-Ranch owner Jerry Kotarak refuses to let her retire.

"I won't let her go,” he said.

K-Ranch has been a dining hot spot since 1958. It's famous for its homey atmosphere and good food. Patrons come back year after year. Many say it's great food, good prices and friendly faces like Helen's. Helen usually works the kitchen but helps out where needed.

Even Chef Larry Burss admits she keeps him in line.

"She says, ‘Larry if I can't work for you I don't know what I'll do. I'll probably die. ’ So it's a blessing," he said.
Helen has worked in food service most of her life. She retired from Ladish after 34 years. When her husband died in 1995 she returned to work three weeks later at the age of 75.

"When he was alive we used to travel and do things. That all ended. I thought I'd just keep working," she said.
As for diet? Helen eats what she wants, and stopped drinking alcohol in her 80s. Her advice to the golden crowd?
"You have to keep moving and keep all your muscles going." she said.
And though Helen, perhaps we can see the secret of longevity. Stay active, work hard, and make cherished memories with family and friends. Helen turns 97 Aug. 15.