Even today – at age 100 – Ethel Margolin isn’t slowing down.
She attends the Wings Over Wendy’s meetings of retired veterans every Monday. She is a frequent honoree and speaker at veteran events.
She certainly has a story to tell.
Born in 1922 in Hell’s Kitchen New York to Russian immigrant parents, Ethel and her brothers grew up with her parents’ laundry service, where Walt Disney was a client.
During WWII Margolin worked in factories as one of the original “Rosie the Riveters.” A most patriotic person, she enrolled in the Armed Forces as a WAC (Women’s Army Corps) as a Private First Class. At the bases where she was stationed she directed plays to boost morale for soldiers going off to war.
Due to her high IQ she was transferred to work at Air Transport Command. She was recently featured in a documentary by Gary Sinise about WWII vets.
After the war Margolin met her husband Abe, a former soldier. They moved their two boys Robert and Wiliam, to the San Fernando Valley to raise their family. But there she was more than a housewife.
She worked with her boss and developed a seven-city security guard business while still getting home at 5 to make dinner for the family.
In the early 60’s she and Abe bought a house in Canoga Park, and were the first in the area to put in a swimming pool – which meant they entertained the entire neighborhood every summer!
Later, Margolin worked as an administrator for the Jewish Home for the Aged, was a US Postal Worker, and a volunteer for the Leechman School where she worked with severely mentally handicapped students for 17 years.
She credits her longevity to giving up smoking 55 years ago and becoming a vegan 30 years ago. That – “and the love of her family.”
And back to Disney – when they heard her story Disneyland opened the doors free of charge to Margolin on her 90th.