OBITUARY

Helen Caroline Emmons

September 16, 1920October 18, 2021
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Helen Caroline Emmons, who died peacefully on October 18, was born 101 years ago in 1920, the year white American women got the vote.

The fifth and last child of the Reverend George J. Ristow, pastor of First English Lutheran Church in Dearborn, Michigan and the late Irma Bork Ristow, Helen experienced the roaring twenties as a child, riding her bike up and down Geneva Street, drawing her own paper dolls and sharing a room with her sister, Thea.

During the Great Depression, Helen enrolled in the college prep curriculum at Dearborn High despite knowing that the family finances wouldn’t extend to college. Her love of the classics, literature, culture and, in particular, opera, were satisfied years later when she settled in her beloved Ann Arbor. After high school, Helen took a secretarial course, got a job in the typing pool at Michigan Bell Telephone Company, and within a few years, she rose to the level of executive secretary to a company vice president.

In the fall of 1946, Helen stepped into an elevator at work where she met an outgoing young publicist, just back from World War II. Six months later Helen Ristow married Dick Emmons, and shortly thereafter, they moved to Dick’s hometown when he went to work for the Ann Arbor News. In the early years, Helen worked as a secretary for Pittsfield Elementary School. Later she did paste-up work for Edwards Printing and sales work for John Leidy all while rearing a daughter and twin sons and participating in volunteer work.

Helen continued to listen to weekly radio broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera and took lessons in watercolor and oil painting at the Ann Arbor Women’s City Club, even as she became a fan of Michigan football and basketball, the Detroit Tigers and learned to play golf. She and Dick enjoyed many happy years at Ann Arbor Golf and Outing, playing the nine-hole course, playing bridge and socializing. Helen served as president of the Ann Arbor Women’s City Club, The Ann Arbor Thrift Shop. She served as an elder and deacon at the First Presbyterian Church and in several capacities with Chapter G of P.E.O. She and Dick spent decades delivering meals for Meals on Wheels.

During the empty-nest years, Helen was able to fulfill one of her dreams when Dick, editor of the Michigan Alumnus, was offered the position of tour guide for Alumni trips all over the world. Another dream was accomplished, after a fashion, when she was able to purchase a brick with her daughter’s name and year of graduation from the University of Michigan.

Helen lived in her own home through the age of ninety-nine. The two years at Balfour Senior Living coincided with the Covid Pandemic and encroaching old age but she was grateful for excellent care from the staff of Balfour and, especially, from the staff of Care-Line Hospice Services, many of whom became like family.

She was predeceased by her parents, brothers and sisters, including George Ristow, Hugo Ristow, Irma Prior and Thea Gourley, her husband, her son, David Emmons, and her son-in-law, Pete Yost. She leaves her daughter, Ann Yost, son, Richard Emmons (Robert Behney), three grandchildren, Adam Yost (Cathy), Ben Yost and Emily Godenschwager (Pete), five grandchildren including Julian and Elliott Yost and Abby, Molly and Josie Godenschwager, numerous nieces and nephews and their families.

A memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday, October 27 at Muehlig Funeral Chapel, 403 S. Fourth Ave. Visitation begins at 11 a.m. with a memorial service to follow at noon. There will be light refreshments.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Careline Health Group and Hospice, 103 S. Jackson St. Suite 200, Jackson, MI 49201 or the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, 301 N. Main St., suite 300, Ann Arbor, Mi 48104.

Services

  • Memorial Visitation

    Wednesday, October 27, 2021

  • A Memorial Service

    Wednesday, October 27, 2021

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Helen Caroline Emmons

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