OBITUARY

Helen Griswold Shipley

December 4, 1944July 19, 2021

Helen Griswold (Weingard) Shipley was born in Oil City, Pennsylvania on December 4th, 1944 and passed away peacefully on July 19th, 2021 at the age of 76. Helen graduated from Mount Union College and received her Master of Education degree from Michigan State University. Helen started her career as an elementary school teacher in Huntsville, Alabama before moving to Haslett to start her family. She taught at Haslett Public Schools for 29 years before her retirement in 2001. Helen was a trail blazer, and was known for her tough love and creative interventions for 5th graders, kindergarten students, Gifted and Talented students through the QUEST Program, and Title One Math students at Ralya and Murphy school. Helen loved her time at Winter Camp and bringing her students to the lake to teach them about water testing; she was passionate about protecting the Lake Lansing Watershed. Helen poured every ounce of her love and energy into teaching and influencing students, but she had no intention of slowing down in retirement.

Helen lived her life to the fullest and had so much fun! She was a spitfire, and always the life of the party. Her happiest days were traveling to the Caribbean with friends, Hobie Cat regattas, teaching Chinese cooking classes, cross country skiing, pitching in the co-ed softball league (where she earned the name Birdie), ice boating, winters in Florida, karaoke dance parties in her living room, days on the boat, traveling the world, mentoring others, and spending time with her family. She is survived by her daughters, Kristen (Scott) Dawson of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Barb (Patrick) Groom of Dewitt, Michigan, grandchildren Olivia, Sophia and Christopher Dawson and grandchildren Samuel and Claire Groom, siblings Robert (Joann) Weingard of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Barbara (John) Spratt of Charlotte, North Carolina, several nieces and nephews and good friends. She is preceded in death by her parents Robert F. Weingard, Katherine Weingard, her little brother John Weingard, many dear friends, and beloved dogs Meagan Marie, Melissa Marie, and Saba.

In 2018 Helen was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). Although she was stripped of many of her physical abilities, she retained her sense of humor, her quick wit, her hilarious stories, and her appreciation for time well spent with those who loved her. She still found joy in the smallest things in life, including family reunions, pontoon boat rides, good food, belly laughs, naughty stories, reminiscing with friends and family, and spending quality time with her children and grandchildren. Despite a hard year of isolation due to COVID-19, Helen somehow still felt connected. Helen was so thankful and knew that she was so loved. Helen spent one of her last days on this earth fishing, riding on the boat, laughing, visiting with friends, and cracking us all up with her stories. For that, we are so thankful.

A memorial service will be held at 2 pm on Friday, August 13th at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes Dewitt Chapel at 205 E. Washington. Visitation will be held from 12 pm to 2 pm prior to the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Foundation for Haslett Schools in Helen’s name. We would like to thank our mom’s loving, compassionate caregivers at Brookdale Assisted Living and at Sparrow Hospital during her final days. We know the work you do is hard, and we are so very grateful that you cared for her with love, respect, patience, and humor.

Services

13 August

Visitation

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes

Dewitt Chapel

205 E Washington
DeWitt, MI 48820

13 August

Funeral Service

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes

Dewitt Chapel

205 E Washington
DeWitt, MI 48820

Memories

Helen Griswold Shipley

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Robert Regan

July 25, 2021

What a fine teacher who always placed her students first. She was one of Haslett’s finest. Thank you for your service and your support.

Rest In Peace my friend.

Robert Regan

Luisa DeBlasio

July 24, 2021

My sincere condolences for the loss of your dear mom, Helen. She was a loyal Haslett colleague, teacher, & friend. I enjoyed hearing her excited voice sharing how students learned to love math & school in general. Helen was constantly thinking of ways to make learning fun. She will be remembered by many... My heartfelt thoughts to her family. 🙏🏼

Carole Ortega

July 23, 2021

Helen was always fun to be around. She was kind and funny. Her students enjoyed being with her. She was creative in finding concrete ways for students to understand math. She was always lots of laughs.

Sue Boutni

July 23, 2021

Just loved your Mom! She was our son’s teacher in third grade and then we asked for her again when she switched to fifth grade. Her picnics for the students at her house on the lake we’re fun for them. What a treasure she was to so many people! I will always remember her with fondness and a smile.

Anna Warbach

July 22, 2021

So sorry to hear about her passing. She was a wonderful teacher and family friend. So many fond memories of boat rides and fun times at the house on Lake Lansing. Barb and Kristen, I am so sorry for your loss. You and your families are in my thoughts and prayers.

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