Cedar Lawns Memorial Park & Funeral Home

7200 180th Ave NE, Redmond, WA


Helen Lenore Usibelli

September 23, 1915July 30, 2020

Helen Lenore Usibelli (nee Ottini)

Sept. 23, 1915 – July 30, 2020

Helen Usibelli passed away peacefully on July 30th with her son and daughter-in-law present at her side.

Helen was born nearly 105 years ago at the family farmhouse in Redmond, to Tony Ottini and Lena Pozzi. She went on to graduate from Redmond High School and then attended Washington Normal School (now Central Washington University) where she earned a teaching degree. Helen taught elementary school for nearly fifty years. She held teaching positions in Shelton, Renton, Hawaii, and Alaska. After moving back to Redmond in 1960 she taught at Redmond Elementary School (located in the former Redmond High School building) until her retirement in 1986. Her passion for teaching is fondly remembered by many of her former students. One of those students described her as “tough and definitely strict, but students were all the better for it. She was a great educator.”

During her retirement, Helen enjoyed travelling – visiting the USSR, China, Europe, and South and Central America. She was an avid reader who had a thirst for knowledge, continuing to take many classes in retirement. Helen loved the arts, frequenting her local theater and the Seattle Symphony. She was also active with the Redmond-based Nokomis Club, a social service organization founded by her mother, Lena, as well as the local children’s hospital guild, and served as a member of the Redmond Library Board.

Helen is survived by her son and daughter-in-law; Tony and Heidi Usibelli, her three nephews; Chris and Greg Bothun, and Jack Ottini, and her caregivers; Sharon Trimble and Paul and Ramona Edwards. She will be fondly remembered by all.

In lieu of services, donations can be made in her memory to the Helen Usibelli Educator’s Fund in the College of Education at Central Washington University https://www.cwu.edu/education-professional-studies/giving (select Other and type in the fund name). A remembrance event for friends, family, and former students will be scheduled at a later date.


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


Helen Lenore Usibelli

have a memory or condolence to add?

Vicki Lloyd

August 10, 2020

I was so fortunate to have Mrs. Usibelli for reading in the sixth grade. At the time, I remember thinking how much work the book reports were. As time went on, it was clear that from those assignments I learned very useful critical thinking skills and the ability to write with proper grammar and punctuation. Everyone should be as lucky to have a teacher with such high expectations and sternness, mixed with genuine caring for her students. What a legacy she built in Redmond.

Alice Rosenbach

August 7, 2020

How lucky were all of us who could say we had been in Mrs. Usibelli's class? She was the quintessential teacher and I learned so much in her 6th grade class. She was serious and no-nonsense about school and we respected her. I also remember her sense of humor. She inspired us to do our best and especially instilled in me a love of reading. Her parents, Mr. & Mr. Ottini, were also wonderful people. I remember how kind they were to our family and how fortunate we were to have them as neighbors. She left a wonderful legacy to the many children she taught. Heartfelt sympathy to Tony, Heidi and family.

Janet Thompson Schreiber

August 4, 2020

Mrs. Usibelli taught all three of the Thompson siblings. An excellent teacher, she was knowledgeable, and fair with her students. I think she was one of those legendary teachers who inspired many of us to become elementary teachers. Her passing marks the end of an era. I am thankful for her life, and honor the memories I have of her.

Kathryn Apolito (Tollfeldt)

August 4, 2020

What a wonderful woman and teacher. Definitely a big loss for Redmond. Mrs. Usibelli was my 6th grade teacher. She could be tough, and was definitely strict, but we students were all the better for it. She was a great educator. She will be missed by decades of students and staff. Condolences to Tony.

Tracie Ingersoll

August 4, 2020

If we asked people of old Redmond to stand if they knew someone who Helen taught, everyone would stand. All of us who grew up in Redmond are thankful for Helen’s teaching standards and her style. Our family was so lucky to be neighbors And friends of Helen, Tony, Mr. and Mrs. Ottini. Helen was an unbelievable woman. I am forever thankful and grateful Helen Usibelli was part of my life.


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