GLENVILLE – When Helen Malicki turns 100 Friday, she will celebrate her milestone birthday surrounded by friends, family and her team of doctors who have helped her get to this point.
Malicki, an Amsterdam native, has overcome any obstacle she has faced. Her secret to getting to 100: “Just keep moving, and don’t stop.”
Her mother died when Malicki was 6. At 12, Malicki battled scarlet fever and was left with gangrene on both of her legs. She stayed with family living in New York City while she received treatment for her legs, and today she says you can’t tell there was ever anything wrong with her legs. At 29, she had a hysterectomy and cervical cancer. Malicki became a widow at 39, when her husband Joseph passed away. She never remarried. At 90 she received a pacemaker, and she is getting ready to have a new pacemaker installed in the coming months.
She has her original teeth, and about a year ago she had to get a filling for her first ever cavity.
After her mother’s death, Malicki’s father remarried, creating a blended family. At the time, Malicki’s stepmother had an 8-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son, who became step-siblings to Malicki and her older brother. She said her family got along. “We were two families. That doesn’t mean that everything was perfect, there were problems, but nobody fought, and nobody called each other names. When I go somewhere, and I see people arguing I say, ‘shame on you people that you can’t get along.’ That’s true, I really do that.”
Helen married her husband, Joseph Anthony Malicki, in 1942. “He was JAM and I was HAM,” she said of her and her husband’s initials. The couple had two daughters, Anne in 1944 and Teresa in 1947.
Malicki worked a number of different jobs throughout her life.
“When I worked at GE, it wasn’t hard, but it was dangerous,” she said.
In her first position at General Electric she worked with capacitors for televisions. Testing them could be dangerous, she said.
She also worked in a number of local restaurants and caterer. She also worked for a time at Chalmers on the south side of Amsterdam, a factory where she folded clothing.
Her daughter Anne said her mother used to sew, and even made Anne’s wedding dress.
Later, she worked at GE again, and retired at 62.
Malicki owned a home in Amsterdam until she was 96; she continued to mow her own lawn and snowblow the property until she was 92. About four years ago Helen moved in with her daughter and son-in-law in Glenville.
Helen loves to cook, and can make lasagna, golombki, perogi, meatballs, homemade bread and chicken drumsticks, to name a few dishes.
With the assistance of a walker, Helen still likes to help dust and Swiffer the floor.
Along with family and friends, She will celebrate her birthday with her primary care doctor, eye doctor, cardiologist, dentist and chiropractor. In total, 99 guests will be at her party, her daughter Teresa said.
“Don’t say goodbye, goodbye is forever. I say ’til we meet again,” Malicki said.
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