1920 – 2016
Helen H. Dey, 95, formerly of Niantic, CT, died peacefully at Matulaitis Nursing Home in Putnam, CT, on Saturday, June 11, 2016. Helen was born in Chicago, IL on August 16, 1920, the daughter of George and Edith (Greenwood) Hersom. After graduating from high school, she worked as a hospital laboratory technician where she met her future husband, Frederick L. Dey, MD. They married in 1941 and enjoyed 53 years of marriage until his death in 1994.
The Dey family came to Connecticut in 1948 when Fred served in the US Navy. Their love of the Connecticut coastline caused them to relocate in Niantic. During Helen’s 62 years in Niantic, she became involved in many community organizations. A long-standing member of the Niantic Community Church, she sang in the choir and was active in the church’s Group for United Progress. Helen was active in the Girl Scouts as a leader and a board member. She was immensely proud of being recognized by the Girl Scouts for 50 years of service with a Life Membership. Her home was the “go-to” location for Scouts picking up the hundreds of boxes of Girl Scout cookies every spring. She was a docent at the Thomas Lee House and supported the Smith Harris House. The Salvation Army, Niantic Public Library, Children’s services of SE Conn., East Lyme Historical Society the Women’s Auxiliary of Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, all benefitted tremendously from her hard work and dedication.
In her ‘spare time’, Helen enjoyed knitting (slipper socks for all!), playing cards, her book club, a neighborhood supper club, and the Hawthorne Club. The family lived along the Niantic River and the family boat,” No Sons”, used for many family outings, was well known on the river.
Helen also enjoyed the part-time homes she and Fred owned: a log cabin in Chester, Vermont and a home in Vero Beach, Florida. Helen volunteered as an usher at Dodgertown for spring training baseball games in Vero Beach. The friendships they cultivated in Vermont and Florida were an important part of their lives. Helen was particularly conscientious about keeping in touch with friends, old and new. She never forgot a birthday and was known for her banana bread she delivered to anyone who was ill or lonely.
Throughout their marriage, their love of travel took Helen and Fred on many trips throughout the US, visiting family and friends, as well as trips to several countries around the world. Upon Fred’s retirement, they embarked on a 6 month medical missionary trip to Sierra Leone. Fred used his surgical skills to treat the village residents, while Helen was instrumental in organizing a medical library and instructing the local women about nursing techniques.
Helen leaves her four daughters, Carol (John) Hartman, Newcastle, ME; JoAnne Taraskiewicz, Willington, CT; Betty (David) O’Connor, Webster, MA; and Constance Rose, Monterey, CA. She also leaves eleven grandchildren and nineteen great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her brother Nahum Hersom of Boise, ID.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend a memorial service to be held at the Niantic Community Church, 170 Pennsylvania Avenue, Niantic, CT on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 2:00PM. Burial will be private in Ohio at the family’s convenience. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Gilman Funeral Home, 104 Church St., Putnam, CT. For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, donations in Helen’s memory may be sent to Niantic Community Church, 170 Pennsylvania Avenue, Niantic, CT 06357 or East Lyme Public Library, 39 Society Road, Niantic, CT 06357. For memorial guestbook please visit www.GilmanAndValade.com.