Hélène Maximilienne LeHay
July 27, 1923 – May 13, 2012
Hélène Maximilienne Léchauguette LeHay, of Brunswick and formerly of Skowhegan, Maine, passed away on May 13, 2012 at the age of 88. She died of a debilitating neurological disorder and was comforted at the end by a vigil of family and friends. She was residing at Dionne Commons with her husband.
Hélène was born on July 27, 1923 in Paris, France, the daughter of Émile Léonce Léchauguette and Andrée Marie Marguerite Thevenet. She grew up in Paris’ La République (11è) but spent numerous summers in Haute-Normandie at the family’s seaside home in Criel-sur-Mer. She had no siblings but had many close cousins to play with. Hélène excelled at her studies and had ambitions to go on to university after high school, but the beginning of World War II interfered. Instead, she began working as a sténodactylographe—a specialized transcriber and typist.
Hélène was a war bride! She met her husband, Chester, who was in the Army stationed in Paris. They met at a USO hall dance. Good thing her mother spoke English, having studied in Great Britain, and was able to act as interpreter. They were married in Paris at Église Saint-Ambroise on September 10, 1946. They sailed aboard the Queen Mary as a honeymoon to America and settled in Rhode Island, first stopping in Maine to meet Chester’s 10 siblings! They had a daughter, Marie-Christine, in 1947. Hélène spent the next 15 years taking care of her family, working as an office worker, participating in church and school activities, and sewing for her daughter and friends.
Hélène, Chester, and Christine moved to California in 1961. She was employed at Mattel Toy Co., where she worked as a translator. Hélène and Chester spent many Sundays driving to their daughter’s college, University of Santa Barbara, always taking her and roommates out for a meal and bringing care packages.
Hélène and Chester retired to Maine in 1982. During this time, she was active in the church choir, the Daughters of Isabella, and making crafts for the church fairs. She volunteered at the local food pantry, belonged to the Cooperative Extension, the Ladies VFW Auxiliary, cared for her grandsons, and was a seamstress extraordinaire. Never wanting to waste any time, she then took up quilting!
Hélène was predeceased by her mother and father, and her dear friends Giselle and Monique. She is survived by her husband Chester, daughter Christine, grandsons Benjamin and Matt, Lesa Andreasen, and Nancy Crawley, as well as several in-laws, nieces, nephews, and cousins, many still residing in France.
A viewing will be held at the Smart and Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan, Maine Friday, May 18th from 5pm to 7pm. A funeral mass will be held at St. Jude’s Church on Saturday, May 19th at 11am. Interment will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Dionne Commons Activity Fund 24 Maurice Dr. Brunswick, Maine 04011, or to Freeport Community Services, Carol Kaplan Fuel Fund, 53 Depot St. Freeport, Maine 04032.
- Viewing Hours Friday, May 18, 2012
- Mass of Christian Burial will be Celebrated at Saturday, May 19, 2012