“In retirement, I want to keep on doing what I have always loved … making art, writing, cooking for friends, spending time with dogs and traveling,” Korkos said. “I’m looking at possibly doing some artist-in-residence programs.”
Prior to moving to Los Alamos in 1982, Korkos worked in retail at a leather store, as a gardener, bibliographer for a history professor, German tutor and waitress.
“I then worked nine years in the restaurant business as a cook (my position was called ‘garde manger’, which is a fancy term for salad girl). I have been a maker of things and an artist my whole life, making quilts, leatherwork, painting, making paper and books, knitting and sewing.”
Korkos and her husband David opened Katherine’s Restaurant in 1983 in White Rock.
“We had worked together in restaurants and wanted to have creative control over what we cooked with our own place,” she said. “We loved being able to serve high quality ingredients and build an appreciative clientele. Over the 23 years of serving this food, we built relationships and got to be part of people’s lives. It was such an honor to be part of our customers special occasions.”
After selling the restaurant in 2006, Korkos took on the role as manager of the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.
“Working with the Chamber gave me a chance to bring a business-owner’s perspective to that position. The realm of economic development was fascinating, and the events were so much fun. So, an additional job skill I have is lining up people and horses for parades. Horses in back, please!” she said. “We worked closely with MainStreet and for a time I managed the visitor centers. During my time there I got to be part of the Sister Cities delegation that went to Sarov, Russia, and I also got to be part of the committee that helped with getting the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.”
In the final role of her working career, Korkos joined the team at the Los Alamos County Library System.
“My position as program specialist for the Los Alamos County Library System has been a dream job,” she said. “I got to manage the art gallery, coordinate the Authors Speak series, manage the circulating art collection, help with all kinds of events and celebrations, and do lots of publicity and promotions for the library. I worked closely with many of those same partner organizations that I worked with at the Chamber … groups like the Historical Society, PEEC, the Los Alamos Arts Council, the Art Center and Los Alamos Public Schools. It was a great pleasure to work with librarians – they are generous, supportive and kind.”
“I love this town and feel a lot of pride in what we as a community have accomplished,” she said. “We have some amazing services here … and our library is a crown jewel.”
Korkos plans to do some domestic traveling this year and may take a trip next spring to Japan to visit a friend studying there, she said, adding that she also is attending a family reunion in Michigan, taking a writing class in New York and visiting quilt museums in Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Ohio.