Helen Dorothy Schultz was born Monday, June 6, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan to Albert William Schultz (born October 16, 1896 in Bentinck – January 22, 1971) and Dorothea (Dorothy) “Dora” Sophia R. (nee Kaufman, born March 19, 1901 in Bentinck – December 8, 1994 in Hanover).
Helen’s parents were married on October 4, 1922 in Bentick Township. In April of 1924 Albert and his brother-in-law, Herman Kaufman crossed over the border into Detroit, Michigan. Dora, accompanied by her sister Matilda, crossed over on the 9th of May that same year. (It is interesting to note that Albert had also previously crossed over in August of 1916.) Albert worked at the Ford Motor Company and was able to pay cash for their new farm on the 12th of Bentinck.
In birth, Helen joined her big brother Edsel Albert (September 21, 1926 – January 27, 1996) who was also born in Detroit. (As an aside, Edsel was named after Edsel Ford, the American business executive and philanthropist who was the son of pioneering industrialist Henry Ford.) The waters of baptism flowed over Helen, on November 13, 1932, by the Rev. F.H. Eglinsdorfer at St. Peters Evangelical Congregation in Detroit. Her godmothers were Minnie Hastie, Bertha Weidenorf and Caroline Weidendorf.
Helen claimed her Lutheran faith for herself during her confirmation at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Elmwood. The Rev. H. Gruhn presided over that most auspicious occasion. It is uncertain when the young family returned to Canada to purchase a farm. In the 1930 American Census, they were listed as living at 5775 Trenton Street in Detroit and seemingly, they were not in the US during the 1940 Census.
Helen was educated at the Louise School in Bentinck Township and her teacher was Ruby Ball. As it ended up, Miss Ball was the same teacher for Helen’s two children, Dianne and Doug. Helen was bright and still had in her possession the perfectly clean and crisp High School Attendance Certificate dated July 1944 at Walkerton. Helen went from attending school to paid work at the Silknet Factory in Chesley from 1948 until 1950. She boarded in Chesley with her cousin Pearl Kaufman who also worked at the factory.
Upon meeting Ralph Edward Bailey (1926 – 1992), most likely at a dance, Helen was smitten. Ralph was the son of Edward and Sarah (Little) Bailey and brother to Donald James. She and Ralph were married on September 30, 1950 at St. Peters Lutheran Church in Bentinck Township by Rev. Harry Baetz. Pearl was Helen’s attendant and a really funny story is told of how the two climbed through a window to decorate the Louise Hall for the reception as someone forgot to unlock the door for them. (Too funny!)
Their love was deep and abiding and Helen worked alongside Ralph on the farm which was just three miles down from the Schultz farm on the 12th of Bentinck. The young couple primarily milked and Helen worked diligently in the vegetable and flower gardens, which she loved to do. Dianne was born March 3, 1952 and Douglas came along a year later on November 24, 1953. Once the children were old enough, Helen returned to the paid workforce, working at the Chesley Hospital from 1967 until 1976. She started as a Care Aid and then was able to be certified as a Registered Nursing Assistant (RNA). In 1976 Helen moved over to the Hanover Hospital where she worked until she retired in 1996. Helen made numerous life-long friends wherever she worked. Pearl (Kaufman) Monk also worked alongside Helen at the hospital and some staff remember them to this day!
In 1967, the same year as Canada’s centennial, Ralph’s father Edward passed away. Helen, Ralph and their children then moved onto the Bailey farm on the 2nd Concession of Elderslie, R.R.#3 Chesley. Here they raised milk cows and mix farmed as well. Sadly, Ralph passed away on May 4, 1992 of cancer. Heartbroken, Helen remained on the farm for just a little while and then moved to Ren’s Apartment above the Chesley Enterprise office and Cook’s Hairdressing. Doug and Lynn were married that same year and moved onto the farm. Finding the stairs more and more difficult, Helen then moved to Brown’s following Edwina (nee Sachs) Pegelo when she moved to Islay House. A further deterioration of Helen’s health led to yet another move and this time it was to the Lodge at Elgin Abbey in 2015. Perhaps the hardest move of all was the move to the Nursing Home side of Elgin Abbey in 2019. But no matter what or where Helen always made the best of her situation. Through it all, she remained gracious and kind. One of the many life lessons she instilled in her family was to always be grateful.
Helen was never one to stay still. It would be easier to name the few organizations she did not volunteer her time at as to list the many she was. Most significantly was her time spent with the Louise Institute and was a lifetime member. There Helen made numerous friends including Helen Weirmeir, Grace Schenk and Betty Stever, to name just a few. Church Council at St. Mark’s Lutheran, the woman’s group – LCW and then the ELW – at St. Mark’s as well as the “Knotty (Naughty) Knitters” and the Worship and Music Committee. It would be hard to think of one single funeral at St. Mark’s that Helen did not work in the kitchen, usually with granddaughters Sarah and/or Laura in tow. In addition, quilting with the church women and others was a definite pleasure for Helen. She was a giver, always going out of her way to help and volunteer in any way possible.
Helen endlessly adored her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her world would light up whenever they were around or came for a visit. Helen was a very strong woman right until her final time with us. She has inspired her granddaughters and grandchildren with the same strength. She was a great role model to grow up with.
In whatever spare time Helen had leftover she loved to go on walks down to the park in Chesley, especially with her grandchildren. Playing marbles with Phyllis Howie and Alvena Kuhl Saturday evenings, crokinole with St. Mark’s, Euchre Card parties while on the farm and playing Uno were favourite pastimes. Daily and weekly readings of the newspapers was vital for Helen as she loved to keep abreast of current affairs. She also enjoyed the Reader’s Digest magazine and watching the Grand Ole Opry on TV, especially when Reba McEntire was on. (Eating grapes was the perfect snack while doing so!) The radio was always on in Helen’s home – AM 920 – and she especially loved listening to Alan Jackson. Attending plays at Blyth and Drayton was another favourite thing to do as was attending anything that was held at the Bijou in downtown Chesley, including Jamborees. It was definitely not an unusual sight to see Helen taxiing people from here to there.
Helen was not afraid to step outside of Ontario and trips were made near and far. She travelled out west with many dear friends, went to the Caribbean, took bus trips to Branson, Missouri, Easter holidays in Detroit, travelled out east, trips to Belle Isle where they went on every ride from the roller coaster to the “Wild Moose”. One memorable trip to Detroit included a NHL hockey game where they were the only ones cheering for the Leafs! In celebration of her 70th birthday, Dianne gifted Helen with a Hot Air Balloon ride. Locally, Helen loved to go to McDonalds with the grandchildren, followed by a trip to Dollarama. Ask Laura about the time Helen laughed so very hard while in Dollarama. It is the best of the best story!
Helen hated winter thus loving spring when she could be out planting. Her favourite colours were purple and blue and her favourite indoor plants were cactus, roses and amaryllis. She was an incredible cook and baker, generously bestowing upon her grandchildren Broccoli soup and Mississippi Mud pie which they love ‘to this day. A family favourite was her strawberry and rhubarb syrup as well as her rhubarb pie. As one can imagine, Helen’s pantry was always well-stocked. Personally, she loved her milk and every morning began with a medley of Bran cereals and Cheerios. Chocolate in the shape of oranges was another indulgent treat.
Helen was caring, respectful, compassionate, and even stubborn and strict. Just ask Doug about the ‘ring of fire’ he and John Howie created! Not a thing happened during the day that Helen did not take note of. Her diaries are masterpieces as are her autograph books filled with coloured paper with verses and sayings written upon them. Nor did a birthday happen that Helen did not celebrate with a phone call or card. In the last few years, the phone call was accompanied by a tinkly recording of the birthday song! Yet one was still remembered. Her filled “Birthday Book” attests to this!
Not to mention Helen’s faith would be direly remiss. Helen’s Bible went most places she went, including the hospital. One of her favourite scripture verses was John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This was also Brendan’s confirmation verse. Helen lived out her faith in her day to day activities and encounters. She was never mean to those she crossed paths with. Helen was blessed to be godmother to Glenn Monk and in turn, he too was surely blessed.
Following years of struggling with Parkinson’s and a brief illness, Helen gently passed on to her eternal home, surrounded by the love of her family at South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Chesley on Thursday, March 4, 2021 in her 89th year.
‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’
Cherished mother of Dianne Bailey of Victoria, B.C. and Doug (Lynn) of R.R. #3 Chesley. Beloved grandmother of Brendan (Brandy McKee), Sarah, Laura (Simon Collins) and great-grandmother of Harlow, Nash and Kip. Helen was predeceased by her husband Ralph (1992), brother Edsel Schultz and her parents Albert and Dora (Kaufman) Schultz.
A public visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Monday, March 8, 2021 from 5 – 8 p.m. All visitors attending will be registered upon entry to the funeral home, must wear a mask and respect physical distancing protocols. A maximum of 25 people will be allowed in the funeral home at any given time. A graveside service honouring Helen’s life will be held in the spring at St. Peter’s Lutheran Cemetery, Bentinck Township.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church or Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.