Muehlig Funeral Chapel

403 South Fourth Ave, Ann Arbor, MI


Mary Helen Barnes Eschman

Mary Helen Barnes Eschman passed away peacefully in her home on May 7th, 2020 following a valiant four-year battle with cancer; by her side, as always, was her husband Jim. A beloved wife, mom, nonna, sister, aunt, and friend, Mary Helen was a constant ray of light and a steadying presence for her countless friends and family across the country and abroad. Her infectious smile, positive attitude, and generous spirit were magnetic, and those whose lives she touched were unquestionably the better for having known her.

Mary Helen was born in 1952 to the late Anne and Cyril Barnes of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mary Helen was a life-long resident of the city, a graduate of the University of Michigan, and spent almost three decades working to improve road and traffic safety in her community and nationally through her career at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

Mary Helen met the love of her life, Jim, when the two were just out of high-school. The best friends were married for 45 years, raised two wonderful daughters, and enjoyed living life to the fullest together. Mary Helen and Jim spent many happy days sailing on Lake St. Clair and traveling from coast to coast, and in recent years, spending time with their beloved grandkids. Mary Helen also enjoyed gardening, antiques, and supporting her Wolverines. Above all, she cherished every moment spent with her friends and beautiful family.

Mary Helen is survived by her husband Jim, her daughters Jessie (Matt) and Katie (Martin), her brother Dave (Laurel), her grandchildren Alexander, Evelyn, Adriana, and a fourth due in the fall, six nieces and nephews, and many other family and friends. Mary Helen will be greatly missed as her welcoming warmth and jubilance impacted so many. Her legacy will continue on through all who knew her, and by those who create love and happiness for others just as she did for so many.

A memorial will be held sometime in the future. In lieu of flowers, please celebrate Mary Helen's life by donating to Arbor Hospice, 4Ocean, the ACLU, or the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Mary Helen Barnes Eschman

have a memory or condolence to add?

Cecilia Trudeau

May 17, 2020

It is with great respect and fondness that I remember Mary Helen, a most kind and generous person. She and her family welcomed my daughters into their lives many days for before and after-school child care and transportation to and from Emerson School. It was only a few days ago that I was recalling our winter trips to Rolling Hills Metropark for the thrill of tobogganing followed by Chinese dinner and board games. Our families had great fun together and this is how I will remember Mary Helen, enjoying life and others!


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