Helen Hensick née Schnaitman, was born in Marshall, Michigan on January 22, 1922. She went through the Marshall schools where she was interested in drama, English and art. She attended Albion college, majoring in Social Work after a bumbling old professor told her that the law, her first inclination, was "no profession for a woman". She married Don Hensick, fresh out of Naval training, in Miami in 1944, shortly before he left for service on a Destroyer Escort in the Pacific in WWII. Helen worked at Eaton manufacturing in Marshall who made hydraulics for the war effort. After the war, Don took the foreign service exam and also applied for a job at Ford Motor Co. Ford made him an offer first and they began a thirty year career as a peripatetic "Ford Family". Helen ran the household, organized moves, and raised three daughters in places like DesMoines, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, New York and Massachusetts. In 1961, one of Helen's dreams as a girl, to live in Europe, came true when they were transferred to Brussels, Belgium and then Bonn, Germany. What began as a two year assignment stretched to eighteen years. Helen was the rock that held the family together, the giver of good advice, the consoler, the chef and entertainer, the travel agent and fellow traveler, the nurse and spiritual guide.
In Europe, Helen traveled widely with her family, husband or friends. She was especially fond of Paris and London, spent Christmas holidays in Switzerland, summer holidays in Greece or Italy, and took innumerable trip to far-flung places like Bermuda, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Trinidad and Tabago. After Don's retirement in 1979, they returned to the United States settling once again in Marshall where Helen's mother, sister and brother still lived. Helen cared for her family, gardened, cooked and continued to travel. Helen's lifelong dream of visiting China was met in 1981 when they went to Beijing, Tsingtao and the Great Wall with a group from Michigan. They would go to Florida or Georgia every winter with friends from Marshall. Helen went to Japan, with friend Faye Berry, to Marshall's sister city, Koka city in Shiga. At home in Marshall and traveling to see family and friends Helen was smart and funny with a wry wit, always caring and insatiably curious about the world. Though private, she was an essential presence in the neighborhood and in the lives of her three daughters and their families, husband, grandson and friends spread about the globe.
The family will receive friends for a Memorial Gathering on Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the Marshall Chapel of the Kempf Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services. Friends who wish may make memorial contributions to the Cronin Foundation. Memorial envelopes are available at the funeral home.
MAR 23. 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM (EDT)
Marshall Chapel of Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services
723 US HWY 27 North
Marshall, MI, 49068
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