Helen Griffin Benedict
September 13, 1918 — November 13, 2013
Helen was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, to Charles and Helen Griffin. She was their second child following her sister, Marjorie, who predeceased her in 2012.
The family moved to Oakland, Calif., when she was four years old. They lived in the area above Lake Merritt where she attended grammar school and graduated from Oakland High.
Helen married Donald McNeilly and gave birth to two children, Carol and Michael. The marriage did not survive World War II and she subsequently married Nathan Benedict in 1951. They had two children, Scott and Elizabeth. Nate adopted Carol and Michael who subsequently took the Benedict name.
The family lived in Oakland for four years while Nate worked on the Berkeley campus of the University of California. When Nate transferred to the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Livermore, the family moved there. Upon Nate’s retirement in 1976, Helen and Nate moved to Friday Harbor, Wash.
Helen was a member of the Altar Society of St. Francis Catholic Church and was a member of the Medical Guild supporting the local medical center.
She loved the house they built out in San Juan Valley and her decorating talents made it a beautiful and welcoming home. Helen had a green thumb and she found much joy in creating stunning gardens that the entire family enjoyed.
The center of Helen’s life were her children, Carol Adibzadeh (Siavash); Michael Benedict (Sherry); Scott Benedict (Sharon) and Elizabeth Steenbeeke (Alain).
Helen accepted Nate’s children and loved them as her own. They are Toni Parsons (Greg); Nate Benedict Jr. (Carol) and Phil Benedict (Debbie). Helen also treasured the many subsequent grandchildren, great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren.
Helen was a wonderful loving mom and grandparent and is deeply loved by all of the kids, all of whom have kept faithfully in touch with her over the years.
Helen spent her whole life saving injured or stray animals, from hummingbirds to horses. As a consequence, until her last months, she was never without dogs and cats, for if they crossed her yard as strays, they were soon fed and adopted. Remembrances to animal charities would honor her memory and continue her saving efforts.
Helen’s last prayers were that all her family would outlive her, and her prayers have been answered. She will be missed by all of us.
A Catholic Funeral Mass will be held for Helen at St. Francis Catholic Church in Friday Harbor, at a date to be announced. A family-only interment will take place at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery.
—Family of Helen Benedict