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Veteran Kittanning lunch leader retiring after 41 years

| Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, 12:22 p.m.
Brigid Beatty
Thelma “Tootie” Reedy, 70, wraps a tray of hamburgers on Friday for students and staff at Kittanning High School on her last day as production leader cook.
Brigid Beatty
Thelma “Tootie” Reedy, 70, takes a break on her final day as production leader cook at Kittanning High School’s cafeteria. She retired Friday after 41 years on the job.

KITTANNING — After 41 years working in the Kittanning High School cafeteria, Thelma “Tootie” Reedy served her last round of school lunches to students and staff on Friday.

“I've had a lot of good days here,” she said. “That's why I've been here so long.”

Reedy, who recently turned 70, has worked in the school cafeteria since 1972, when she began handing out milk to students and washing pots and pans. She has long since become the production leader cook after taking her turn as cafeteria baker, salad maker and sandwich maker.

Reedy's three sons, Richard, Robert and Rodney, all graduated from Kittanning High School.

She said she has seen decades of students come and go in all of the fleeting styles of the day, including current trends of “dyed hair, low pants and piercings.”

And counter to what some adults might claim, Reedy said students seem to be a lot better now than in previous years.

“They're all basically good kids,” she said. “Some you get real attached to.”

She has become somewhat of an expert when it comes to knowing what kids like to eat.

“Chicken,” she said. “We could have chicken every day of the week.”

Reedy's adoration among the Kittanning staff was evident on that last day of her career.

“We love her,” exclaimed a co-worker. “We don't want her to leave.”

School secretaries Ruth Miller, Madelyn Bookwalter and Diane Bowser brought Reedy an enormous basket of flowers to add to a growing pile of farewell gifts.

“She's well-liked by everybody,” said her husband, Richard “Dick” Reedy.

Tootie Reedy said she is looking forward to having more time at home and plans to join Silver Sneakers at the Richard G. Snyder YMCA.

But for today, on her first weekday morning of retirement, she has plans to sleep in late.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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