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Helen  Smith

Helen Louise Smith

March 15th, 1926 - February 13th, 2023

Helen's Obituary

Helen Louise (Arends/McLeese) Smith died February 13, 2023, at Medilodge of Kalamazoo.

She was born on March 15, 1926 in Newton, Iowa, the daughter of Mr. Louis Arends and Mrs. Letha Marie (Bisom) Arends. She lived in the Paw Paw, Decatur and Kalamazoo areas from the age of four until her retirement. After retirement she moved to Sarasota, Florida; where she lived for a number of years and then she moved to Bullhead City, Arizona. In 2012 she returned to Florida moving to Sun City, and then to Seminole; returning to the Paw Paw, Michigan area in 2015.

Helen graduated from Paw Paw High School in 1944 and Mercy College of Nursing in Detroit in 1947. She has also attended classes at Southwestern Michigan college, Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University. She received her (COHN) certificate of occupational health nursing in 1975.

Helen married James William McLeese, Jr. of Decatur on June 7, 1947 and he preceded her in death on September 6, 1973. She was then united in marriage to Edward E. Smith on August 16, 1975 and he preceded her in death on September 13, 1998.

As a registered nurse she worked in a physician’s office, then at Lakeview Community Hospital in Paw Paw and for the Van Buren County Health Department for five years. She then went to work for the Upjohn Company. Helen was the recipient of the William E. Upjohn Award in 1983. After 22 years of service, she retired from the Upjohn Company on April 2, 1986. Helen worked as a visiting nurse in Sarasota, Florida for several years. Helen has also worked with the American Red Cross in Van Buren County.

She was a member of the Michigan Lung Association and a member of the advisory boards for the Upjohn Health Care Services and the American Association of Occupational Health Care Nurses where she served in offices at the state and local levels. After her retirement she enjoyed traveling; with trips around Europe, trips across America (Esp. around the canyons in Arizona), and several cruises which she enjoyed greatly. She also enjoyed golf, reading and bridge. Helen was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star #333 of Decatur and Past Matron of the O.E.S. #333, a member of the O.E.S. #256 of Lawrence and the O.E.S. # 60 Sunrise chapter of Bullhead City, Arizona. She led the “Camp Fire Girls” in the Decatur area for several years. She is a former member of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Portage, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Kalamazoo, St. Boniface Episcopal Church in Sarasota, Holy Spirit Episcopal, Bullhead City, St. John the Devine Episcopal Church in Sun City and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Paw Paw. Helen has served on the Alter Guild of her churches.

Helen is survived by one daughter, Sandra (William) Orr; one son, David (Ruth) McLeese; five grandchildren, James (Jennifer) Orr, Katherine (Brendon) Ross, Daryl (Brandy) McLeese, Shawn (Lianna) McLeese and Shannon (Brian) Ladouceur; thirteen great-grandchildren, Emma and Brianna Goodrich, Cyan, Bryton and Austyn Orr, Addison, Alexys, Caroline, and Gracie McLeese, Eoin, Kian, Fynn and Cael McLeese; several cousins, including Stu Lapham, nephews and nieces, including Betsy (Joe) Judge and Robert (Val) Arends. She was also preceded in death by her parents, her brother, Dr. Robert Arends; two nieces, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law.

A memorial graveside service will be held at 11 am on Friday, March 3, 2023 at Lakeside Cemetery, Decatur, Michigan. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, The Shrine for Crippled Children, St. Jude Children’s Hospital or the charity of your choice. Arrangements have been entrusted to Newell Chapel, Decatur. Those wishing to send a condolence online may do so at www.newellchapel.com.

Memorial Contributions

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St. Mark's Episcopal Church

The Shrine for Crippled Children

St. Jude Childrens Hospital

Charity of your choice

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