November 20, 2012 | 09:33 AM
On November 15 Millie Reichelt reached an important and notable milestone in her life when she celebrated her 100th birthday. When asked how old she was going to be, Millie displayed her wonderful sense of humor when she replied “Sweet Sixteen!” She considers herself blessed, having enjoyed a good and healthy life.
She has borne her years gracefully, continuing to pursue an active lifestyle. Any activity will find Millie ready to participate. She especially enjoys bingo and pokeno, and is an accomplished artist. Shabbat services, excursions to places like the Johnson County Arboretum, happy hours, movies, cooking, exercise sessions — they all find her an active participant.
Millie was born and raised in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn. She has an older sister who lives in California, and had two brothers. Her parents owned and operated a laundry business which specialized in linens and draperies — all done meticulously by hand. At a young age, Millie showed her natural talent for numbers when she served as bookkeeper for her parents. She also enjoyed helping her father deliver their customers’ laundry.
After graduating from high school, where she was an honor student, Millie attended business school, learning typing and shorthand. She loved to dance, and went every Saturday and Sunday to Danceland.
She especially liked the waltz, fox trot and Charleston. She also enjoyed going to famous theatres, such as the Roxy and Paramount, where she saw performances by some of the biggest names of the day: Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra and Milton Berle.
Millie worked as a cashier in a restaurant where she met and dated her future husband, Ben Zedek. They lived next to Prospect Park where she was a full-time Mother to their son Michael, whom she said was a very good boy and easy to raise. Millie was a good cook and loved to read. She learned to drive in her late 40s. In 1964, while Michael was in college, Millie’s husband Ben passed away. Afterwards, she was hired as a cashier at National Commercial Bank. She was very conscientious, always making sure that all the numbers were correct. Sometime after her first husband passed away, Millie was remarried to Herman Reichelt and they lived in Albany, New York.
In Albany, Millie was very involved in the sisterhood at her Synagogue. She was an active volunteer, and was an especially proficient fund-raiser. She ran bingo games and was active in the production of the annual sisterhood musical production. She also volunteered at a nursing home in Troy, New York where her mother-in-law lived. One of the residents was the mother of Kirk Douglas. He used to visit her there and built a wing onto the nursing home.
Millie’s son, Michael, became a Rabbi and was chosen Senior Rabbi at Temple Congregation B’nai Jehudah in 1974. After Herman Reichelt died, Millie moved to Overland Park where she lived at The Atriums. In 2001, she moved to Village Shalom. Millie is especially proud of her family, her son, Michael, and his wife, Karen, her two granddaughters, Betsy (her husband Jeremy) and Susan (husband Joe and two great grandchildren, Sam and Julia).