Helen was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on the 16th day of November, 1929, a year that would go down in infamy for reasons other than Helen’s arrival on the planet. Her parents were Seth and Leta (Meachum) Louks. She was the youngest of five siblings that included Gordon, Thelma, Geraldine, and Wanda. She was baptized into the Christian faith on April 21, 1946, at Southlawn Church of God by Rev. John Denchfield. Helen received her education in the Godwin Heights Public Schools, graduating with honors in 1947. Later that same year, on September 12th she married Dennis (Bud) Smith, a returning sailor from the Pacific fleet, following WWII. They were married at Southlawn Church of God, Rev. Denchfield presiding. Lifelong friends Bill and Jaylene Beatty stood with them. Together, Helen and Dennis became parents of Dennis Jr., Linda, Rodney, and Faith. Though a rocky marriage for many years, Helen and Bud found a special closeness over the closing years of Bud’s life, sharing scripture together and rediscovering the love that brought them together.
During the early years of their marriage, Helen and “Bud” partnered in owning and operating “Smitty’s Little Gem Café,” a small, mom-and-pop restaurant across from a General Motors metal fabrication factory. Their primary clients were the shop workers who loved Bud’s meatloaf, day-old chili, and home-made apple pies. With the advent of a factory cafeteria and McDonalds, the café languished. Bud joined the labor force in the factory and Helen went on to find employment and vocational fulfillment as a teacher’s aide in Godwin and Kellogsville Public Schools. She particularly enjoyed helping the children of resettled Vietnamese refugees with learning English and math.
Helen had a gift for art and music, qualities liberally passed on to her daughters while somehow skipping her sons. She loved to sing and for many years both sang in and directed the Southlawn Church choir. She also enjoyed singing with the Wyoming Chorus, a group well known for popular and patriotic programs. In addition to art and music, Helen loved camping. Parking their camping trailer in a choice Lake Michigan campground was the height of her summer joy. Later Helen and Bud invested in a cottage-home on Indian Lake where they hosted family and friends for several years.
Helen loved animals and over the years several of them, dogs, cats, and one parakeet, shared limited living space with the human family. Skippy, a Lothario of a beagle, got the prize for longevity, but her constant companions in later years were her cats, Misty and Buster.
In 2009, Helen became one of the longest-term residents of Carveth Village in Middleville, Michigan, an assisted living facility that provided graduated care for seniors. The family thanks the good folks at Carveth for their ongoing attentiveness to Helen’s physical and emotional well-being, especially during the final days of her life. Special thanks go to Jamie Holes, who made possible weekly ZOOM visits, along with face-to-face visits when possible during this year of covid.
Helen Smith died on the 30th day of May, 2021, at the age of 91 years (she kept saying 92). She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Dennis, her daughter, Faith Hughes, her granddaughter Jamie Smith, and all of her siblings. She is survived by her children, Dennis Jr.(Paula) Smith, Linda (Paul) Pomeroy, and Rodney (Mary) Smith. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Timothy (Kelley) Smith, Joshua (Rita) Smith, Adam (Janine) Smith, Natalie (Phil) Rohr, Rob (Heather) Hughes, Jason Pomeroy, and Leta (Nathan) Walton. In addition, she is survived by great-grandchildren: Lily, Gwendolyn, and Owen Crowder-Smith, Gabriella and Jack Smith, Austin and Jacob Hughes, and Beckett and Leslie Walton.
May God, in God’s mercy, receive his servant, Helen Smith, into the arms of everlasting love and bring comfort and peace to those who mourn her.
Funeral services will be held Saturday 11 am at Stegenga Funeral Chapel, 3131 S. Division Ave, Wyoming, with Pastor Richard Alcumbrack officiating. Burial Garfield Park Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet the family for visitation one hour prior to the service.