Born in 1922 in Nanticoke, Penn., Helen Sokol eventually moved to Queens as a young woman to spearhead her life, career, and family.
Now, Sokol celebrates 100 years of life and nearly 80 years of calling Queens home.
Her friends at AARP Elmhurst Rego Park Chapter 2889 organized a birthday celebration for her, in which representatives of local elected officials and other community members attended.
Sokol, whose family came from Slovakia, lived with relatives in Middle Village when she first moved to the city in the 1940s.
She later moved into a one bedroom apartment in Elmhurst, after she married her husband, Emil.
The Sokols had three sons: Emil, Thomas and Edward, and two grandchildren: Katie and Brian.
Edward Sokol, who owns Ace Wine & Liquor on Grand Avenue in Elmhurst, said that his mother is known for many things, but most notably, she’s known as a hard worker.
Before she had children, Sokol worked in communications for American Airlines at LaGuardia Airport. She was also heavily involved with different trade publications, including Billboard.
“Even though she only had a high school diploma at that point, she was able to work herself up and become involved with different publications,” her son, Edward said.
“She was a hard worker from the day she started, to the day that she retired,” he continued. “I could celebrate her every day.”
People also remarked upon her sense of humor and love of swing music and dance.
In celebration of this milestone, New York City Councilman Robert Holden, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo, NYS Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards presented Sokol with various certificates.
As for her secret to a long, healthy life, Sokol said she made sure to always keep busy and surround herself with people who make her feel young.
“A big part of my life was taking care of my mother who had health problems, and then my husband. But I always dealt with young people,” Sokol said.
“I never heard people complain about their aches and pains and things like that, so I never knew what to expect,” she continued. “As long as you’re around young people, you’re curious. And the young people I worked with accepted me as one of their own… as long as you’re feeling young, that’s what matters.”