On April 1, 1965, Joyce Pylkki was walking home from high school when her father came by in his car and told her to “hurry home.” He had received a message that she had been selected to start a new job at Bess Kaiser Hospital in Portland, Oregon. She thought it was an April Fools’ prank, but he said, “No, they really want you to come to work,” Pylkki recalls. She started working in the kitchen on the 4-9 pm shift.
Thus began Pylkki’s Kaiser Permanente career, one she shared with her mother and two sisters.
Her mother, Sarah Winter, was working at the time in the kitchen as a baker and later retired in 1974. Her sister, Jayne, had started a year before her and was a ward secretary and worked until she passed away in 2009 of cancer.
After graduating from high school in 1967, Pylkki became a ward secretary, and then a year later was asked to join the insurance claims department. In 1971, her younger sister, Joan, started in medical transcription at Bess Kaiser. She worked a total of 19 years and is now retired.
In January, 1977, Pyllki took a part-time position in radiology at Bess Kaiser. She and her husband had just bought a house across the street from the hospital. In 1982, she accepted a full-time position in ultrasound as an imaging assistant. In 1998 when Bess Kaiser closed, she moved over to Interstate South in the new location.
“Between my mother, my two sisters and myself we have worked a total of 129 years!” says Pylkki, who was born in 1948 at the Kaiser Permanente hospital in Vancouver, Washington. “I’ve had Kaiser insurance all these years,” she says.
In 2013, Pylkki requested to go down to three days a week. “I’m loving it,” she says.