Lake Odessa’s Joyce Brinningstaull works five days a week; not bad for someone born on Aug. 9, 1931.
Brinningstaull has worked hard all her life. She grew up on a farm, married and worked alongside her husband Alden, a truck driver, and today works five days a week as a dishwasher at the McDonald’s in her hometown. A 17plus-year employee at the restaurant, Joyce isn’t unlike most of her fellow crew members, except at 85, she ranks as the eldest.
Well known among the customers, Brinningstaull has had various responsibilities throughout her 20-year career, including working at the front counter, the grill and in the lobby. She began working at the Lake Odessa location in 1997, which was then owned and operated by McDonald’s Corp. and is now owned by Keith Berg.
“Joyce is a very hard worker, spending four hours a day, five days a week washing dishes and always willing and asking if there is anything else she can do to help out,” Berg said. And the restaurant benefits from more than her work ethic, he added.
“Our McFamily is made up of a diverse group of people, and to have Joyce share her experiences with her fellow crew members, it just makes our restaurant a unique place in the community,” Berg said. “The kids here learn a lot from her, and I think she learns from them as well.”
For Joyce, a mother of two sons – Alden Jr. and Alan, two granddaughters and nine great grandchildren, her colleagues are like extended family.
“We are always treated like family here,” she said. “I enjoy being around the people I work with and the customers; it’s a small community and everyone knows everyone.”
In addition to working five days a week, Brinningstaull volunteers at the local VFW on bingo night and has helped lead charitable fund-raising programs for special education students in nearby Ionia. She is a loyal Lakewood High School Vikings fan and is a diehard Michigan State University basketball and football fan, and is also a big fan of the Detroit Tigers.
As she ended her shift, getting ready to head out and drive back home after another day at work, Brinningstaull remarked she doesn’t have plans to retire anytime soon.
“I’ll keep working as long as I can,” she said with a smile.