Helen Zike: 100 Years Young and Still Volunteering by Ramon Tristani

One hundred years and counting! That’s how long Helen Zike has been serving family, friends, and especially those living in need. At the tender age of eleven, when her mother’s health faltered, she assumed responsibility for her three sisters, a role that she still takes seriously.  Age seems to be of no consequence to Helen.  Having been married for more than 60 years, Helen is now a widow but still lives independently – taking care of the day to day chores of a homemaker from paying the bills to keeping fit.

Helen is active as part of Area 10 Agency on Aging’s RSVP 55+ Volunteer Program, helping others by making articles destined for those in need. Helen leads neighbors and friends as part of the “Good Neighbor’s Club” in various projects, from making teddy bears to complex quilts.  Everything is hand-made and is donated to assist organizations like the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Bloomington. 

Helen has used her gift of long life to leave a lasting legacy of good and meaningful deeds. Her focus is not about what she has done to stay healthy over 100 years of life.  Her focus is on loving and giving. 

Looking at the quilts that she makes one can see the fine stitches, so fine that they seem machine-made.   But, they are not – Helen’s eyes are in excellent shape.  Likewise, her sense of humor holds steady and keeps people laughing.

What does Helen prescribe for dealing with “the blues”?   “Shake it and keep busy!” she says.  Helen has used this antidote successfully for over 100 years!

What does Helen look forward to? Health and time to keep doing the work she loves.


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