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Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned nearly a century, Helen McCullough lived to serve all who were within her reach. She was never one to let life get the best of her, and she faced whatever came her way with both a graceful courage and quiet strength that were such an inspiration to all who were near. Helen was a devoted mother who was filled with unspeakable joy to witness her family tree blossom to include grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren later in life. With never an unkind word to say about anyone, her faith was her constant companion and an incredible testament to what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart. Deeply loved, Helen will never be forgotten.
At the end of WWI in 1918, America was recognized as a world leader for the first time and poised for greatness. With the eyes of the world focused on our shores for what was to come we did not disappoint as we were the greatly responsible for several advancements during the decade that we commonly recall as the Roaring Twenties. It was just before the dawn of the 1920s that George and Nellie MacDonald were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as winter was drawing to a close in Watson, Michigan. The big day finally arrived when the baby girl they named Marguerite Helen made her grand entrance in the family home on March 1st. She was raised in Martin as the middle of three children in the MacDonald clan as she was joined in the family by her older brother, Harold, and her younger brother, Joe. Helen’s father was a farmer who also worked for the railroad while her mother was a homemaker. They had farm animals including horses and cows as well as cats and dogs. Helen attended Martin schools and graduated from high school in 1937. After high school she spent some time working in the nursing home in Plainwell.
It was also as a young woman that new and exciting changes were in store for Helen when she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Chester McCullough, and they met through his sister who was a coworker of Helen’s. They began dating and soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together the couple was married in 1940. Together they were blessed with the births of three children including Betty, Billy, and Donna. Sadly, Billy died before his first birthday while Chester was in the Navy. Tragedy stuck again in the McCullough family when Chester died as a result of a car accident in 1946, leaving Helen on her own to raise her children and support her family. Chester's family was a great supporthelping Helen raise the children. Margaret, Mayanna, and Irving would take them anywhere they needed to go.
Although she certainly could have let her circumstances get her down, Helen rose to the challenge. She remained positive and worked hard in all of her many roles. She didn’t even have a car until Betty was 16 years old, and since they took the bus to get groceries her kids all knew the Greyhound bus route. They also took the bus to visit family in Ohio. Helen certainly knew how to be resourceful as she was a fantastic seamstress who had amazing skills in the kitchen as well. Everything she made was great, and she was especially known for her molasses cookies and lemon pie. Helen always kept a garden, did some canning, and they had chickens, too. An animal lover, they always had dogs and cats around.
As one to be busy, Helen was a woman of many interests. She attended Watson Community Bible Church for more than 50 years. With a love for babies and kids, she often volunteered in the nursery there. Over the years Helen served at her church wherever she could including by counting the offering. After having worked for John Fetzer’s family who owned Channel 3 and the Tigers in the 1960s, Helen became an avid Tigers fan. She loved looking after her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as often as she could, and she was also very close to her sister-in-law, Mayanna.
All who knew Helen McCullough would agree that she was such a blessing. She was very outgoing, yet also reserved, and she was the sort of person who would do anything for anyone. Helen treasured her roles as a wife, mother, and grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother as her family was her greatest source of pride and joy. A true caregiver through and through, there was no one who met Helen and didn’t feel like the most special person in the world. She will be forever missed.
Helen McCullough, of Martin, passed away on July 6, 2016, at her home surrounded by family. Helen’s family includes her children: Betty (Larry) Penny; Donna (Jess) Tefft; 5 grandchildren: Tina, Cheryl, Kenny, Michella (Jason), Denise (Mike); 3 step-grandchildren: Steve (Kathy), Jackie (Scott), Greg (Carrie); 13 great-grandchildren as well as several great-great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews. Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Chester; parents; son, Billy; and step grandchild, Larry. Visit with her family and friends on Monday, July 11 from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. at the Watson Community Bible Church; 1626 116th Ave, Otsego, MI 49078. A funeral service will follow at 11:00 a.m. at the same location. Please visit Helen’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a memory or photo and sign her memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to the Watson Community Bible Church.