Helen E. Krannitz
Dec 19th 1910 - Jul 7th 2011
When reflecting on the richly blessed life of Helen E. Krannitz, it would be fair to say her faith and Christian life was a priority in everything she did. Helen carried herself with elegance and was a smartly dressed woman. Although she was known to be stubborn and worried when it came to those she loved and cared about, she had a way of carrying herself with grace. Foremost, her faith, smile and godly advice will be greatly missed by all.
Born during a decade of great change, the culture of the nation was quickly changing as many placed enormous confidence in the promise of science and technology. With inventions like the telephone and traffic light, it seemed as though there would be no end to the many possibilities ahead. For William and Myra (Bottenberg) Ridenour, the future looked bright with promise as they lovingly welcomed the birth of their daughter, Helen, born on December 19, 1910.
Born and raised in the state of Ohio, they made their home in the village of Bremen, a small community of 800 souls. Helen's father supported Helen, the youngest of three children, with a diverse array of occupations. He served the local community as an undertaker while working at a furniture company and was also the village Sheriff for a time. He later went on to benefit from the oil boom and soon became the proprietor of his own oil business. Her mother, a homemaker, assisted Helen's father in their family businesses.
Helen enjoyed a typical childhood for the times growing up with her brother, Harold and sister, Hazel. A family of faith, the Ridenour's faithfully attended church each Wednesday and twice on Sundays. Along with their close family bond and deep rooted faith, Helen gained strong spiritual convictions for which she carried throughout her life. Times of sharing, good conversations and laughter filled their table as they each enjoyed one another's company during meals together each day. She attended the area schools and was an excellent basketball player on her school team. Helen graduated in 1930 from Rush Creek Memorial High School during the most tumultuous times of the Great Depression.
Lacking funds during the depression, Helen fortunately found work at Anchor Hocking. While standing in line with a girlfriend, she simply got the job because a man came out and began pointing and saying, "I'll take you, and you, and you . . . ". The position paid excellent wages for the time at $25.00 per week which was especially good for a young woman like Helen. There was a certain pride among the residents of Bremen and a strong sense of community. They made the best of what they had, and willingly and gladly shared with those less fortunate.
Sure and independent, Helen was a little spitfire when she wanted to be! She often liked sharing the story about the time she attempted to pass another car and ended up racing her brand new, 1930 Ford along a very dusty, Ohio road. She worked hard at her job to earn her very own car, and simply liked having a little fun with it. Her outgoing nature shone bright while attending a pumpkin show and dance one autumn night when a friend introduced her to a young man named Kenneth Krannitz who came to steal her heart. After dating and falling in love, they were blessed as husband and wife on November 10, 1934 in South Bend, Indiana.
As newlyweds they resided in Burnips, Michigan for a short time until employment opened up for Ken in the Muskegon, Michigan area. Before long they welcomed the birth of their son, Kenneth into their hearts followed by their daughter, Kay. A good and loving mother, Helen was pretty strict, but balanced it with her caring demeanor. She remained at home with her children until 1951 when she reentered the work force to earn a little extra Christmas cash working as a telephone operator.
Helen absolutely loved her job with the Telephone Company. What began as a temporary position ended up turning into a 26 year career. Working there had it's advantages for a working mother, too. Helen could listen to her kid's phone conversations from work and know what they might be up to! For many years several of the retired telephone operators got together a few times each year to catch up, visit and share the best of times. Helen claimed one of these special friends, Mary, as her adopted daughter and family member.
Through the efforts of a young seminary graduate and Helen’s hopes, the First Presbyterian Church was established. She became a very active, charter member and also served as a deaconess. Prior to her death, Helen held the distinction of being the last remaining charter member of her church. When her beloved Kenneth died in 1966 after 34 years of marriage, Helen held fast to her faith, family and the foundation of her church family. She served her church well and for many years was an active and involved member. Well respected in her faith community, social circles and many friendships, Helen upheld an elegant nature and was impeccably dressed wherever she went.
First and foremost, her faith as a Christian women was a driving force in her everyday life. She never smoked or drank alcohol, but believed one of the secrets was her habit of drinking two gallons of orange juice every few days. She could also drink enough iced tea to float a canal boat! Helen felt it important to take the initiative in life. She never placed herself in the position of being “told” what to do but instead was a take charge person. She firmly felt people should take charge of their own lives. At the same time, she also had the habit of taking charge of other's lives, too, and was certain to use a pointed finger for emphasis!
Over 100 guests attended Helen's 90th surprise birthday party which spoke volumes for the woman she was. She was truly blessed when her great-nephew, Rich Ridenour, a renowned concert pianist, played for everyone’s enjoyment. At that very party, Helen expressed how she would like to live for another ten years, and she did! But when recalling the story of her infamous race and her 1930 Ford, Helen was especially proud to say she in fact won that race, except for the part about the other driver related the incident to Helen's father, serving as a local police officer at the time!
Mrs. Helen E. Krannitz, age 100, passed away Thursday, July 7, 2011. She is survived by her son, Kenneth M. (Cathey Pfhistner) Krannitz; daughter, Kay (Tarry) Duram; grandchildren, Jim (Pam) Krannitz, Bryan (Heidi) Krannitz, Todd (Maria) Krannitz, Kristopher (Becca) Krannitz, Dawn (Rob) Arnoys, Debbie (Jim) Yore, Kendra (Chuck) Brokstad; 13 great-grandchildren; one great great-grandchild. Besides her husband, she was preceded in death by her brother, Harold Ridenour and sister, Hazel B. Bowen.
SERVICE: Monday, July 11, 2011, 11:00 AM with visitation one hour prior to the service at First Presbyterian Church with Pastor Cynthia Holder-Rich officiating. Interment at Mona View Cemetery. MEMORIAL: First Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund or West Michigan Christian High School. Please visit www.clockfuneralhome.com to leave a memory or to sign her online guest book. Clock Life Story- Muskegon.