Fred Kirkpatrick is a 97-year old man from Fort Smith, Arkansass. He is in great health and just can’t seem to stop moving. For the past 80 years, Kirkpatrick has found gainful employment at the Coca-cola Bottling company.
Over the years, he has done so much for the company, from being an book keeper to office manager to operations manager and now he has finally found his home as an archivist and curator to their in house Coke museum.
He currently works in the plant’s museum on the second floor. For Kirkpatrick, history has always been a big interest, as well as a collection of memorabilia.
When he first started at his job in 1938, people were still recovering from the Great Depression.
His building is now mostly in distributions, but for over 90 years, their main task was bottling.
He gave some tips to longevity and happiness – he has been drinking Coca-cola all these years. That is not the only thing he has done for himself. Fitness and exercise as well as eating properly were always big priorities of his.
He has always worked at Coca-Cola in some capacity except during the years he served in Word War II. He said he has no plans to retire. Fred Kirkpatrick has been working at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Fort Smith for nearly 80 years. He’s worn a number of hats in his time with the company, but the 97-year-old is now the archivist and curator of the plant’s museum on the second level. “I’ve always been interested in history and I collect stamps, and I collect baseball cards and things like that,” Kirkpatrick told KFSM. So for Kirkpatrick, or Mr. K as many people call him, it was only natural for him to collect old documents and Coca-Cola memorabilia. “That’s primarily what I do is look after the museum and the archives,” Kirkpatrick said. Mr. K got his start at Coca-Cola in 1938. At the time, the plant was located at Rogers and Second Street across the street from Judge Isaac C. Parker’s courtroom. Kirkpatrick said people were still recovering from the Great Depression. “I started out just as a clerk in the office,” he said. “Then I became the bookkeeper and the office manager and later on became the operations manager.” The company moved to the current location on Phoenix Avenue in the ’80s and Kirkpatrick said he has seen it evolve over the years. For example, they don’t bottle Coke there anymore.