Rose Paddubny isn’t spending her Golden Years rocking away in a comfortable chair, watching television and knitting. No, sir.
The 88-year-old longtime resident of Oxford is still working as a housekeeper at the McLaren Oakland medical facility (385 N. Lapeer Rd.) in Oxford Township.
“I clean the exam rooms, pick up trash,” she said. “I always tell people when they ask me what I do, I say, ‘You ever watch the movie The Help? Well, I’m the help.’”
“Rose is probably one of the hardest workers, even though she can’t do as much as she used to do here,” said Lynette Smith, director of operations at the Oxford facility.
Paddubny, who was born and raised in Missouri, started working full-time at the Oxford medical campus in August 1985 when it was owned and operated by Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital (POH). It switched over to McLaren in 2012.
In January 1997, Paddubny officially retired, but she continues to work there at least once a week for a few hours.
“When we need her, we call her. She fills in when my other staff’s off on vacation,” Smith said. “Normally, she comes in for a couple hours on Saturday.”
Smith noted Paddubny rarely shows up empty-handed.
“She always brings something – a pie, whatever she bakes,” Smith said. “She bakes all the time. She brings something in here every Saturday for the staff.”
Paddubny is quite popular among the staffers.
“They love her,” Smith said. “She loves to come and chat with everybody. She keeps up with what’s going on in everybody’s life.”
Paddubny’s favorite part of the job is “the people.”
“They’re all really nice,” she said. “They help me if I need it up there.”
“The staff always steps up and helps her with whatever she needs,” Smith said. “They all pitch in.”
Paddubny said the job’s “not any harder” at her age, it’s just, “Sometimes I get tired more easily.”
Her husband, Hank, owned and operated a bait shop (Hank’s Better Bait) on N. Washington St. in downtown Oxford for 17 years. When Hank, a World War II veteran, passed away in May 2009 after more than 60 years of marriage, Paddubny decided to continue working.
“Our house was paid for,” she said. “I didn’t really have to work. I just got to keep busy doing something.”
It’s ironic that Smith, who is now Paddubny’s boss, used to be a customer at Hank’s Better Bait.
“When Lynette was going to school, she used to stop in. The kids used to come in and buy candy,” she said. “I told her she still looks the same as she did when she was a little girl.”
“Everybody stopped at Hank’s,” said Smith, who made her daily visit while walking from her family home on Pearl St. to the Washington Street School, which used to be located where the fire hall is now. “They made everybody feel welcome in the bait shop . . . They had unique candy in there.”
Smith enjoys the fact she’s still connected to Paddubny after all these years.
“I’ve known Rose my whole life,” she said. “She is just one of the sweetest, most caring people. We talk about Hank’s bait shop all the time and she knows my whole family.”
Paddubny can’t see any reason to retire a second time at this point.
“I’ll probably keep working as long as I can,” she said. “People there ask me when I’m going to quit, but I just like to make a little money and it doesn’t hurt me to get some exercise. I like to keep busy. Otherwise, I’d sit around and really get lame.”
“We’re thrilled that she still works here and she’ll have a job forever,” Smith noted.
Paddubny advises her fellow senior citizens to keep their minds and bodies active.
“That’s the main thing,” she said.