Born Nov 11, 1936
Beloved third child of Rhode Island band leader and State Senator Arthur (Artie Bell) Belhumeur and his wife Jeanne (St Pierre) Belhumeur, Helen died peacefully at home on July 19, 2020 surrounded by her six loving children and her devoted husband of 64 years, William R. Van Nieuwenhuyze. Born at home in Central Falls, RI. Helen attended high school at St Xavier’s Academy in Providence, RI. She became an accomplished pianist, earning a full scholarship at 17 to continue her music studies at Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA. After marrying the love of her life, she moved to Thompson, CT and raised six children while finishing her studies, eventually establishing a successful teaching practice that included more than 400 students throughout N.E.C.T. As an organist she was sought after for weddings, masses and funerals, playing the organ for 43 years at Sacred Heart Church on West Thompson Rd and St. Joseph’s Church in N. Grosvenordale. She was a piano accompanist and music director for many plays, concerts and events throughout the Thompson School System, and participated chorally in the Diocesan Choir at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich CT – performing at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. under the direction of the Los Angeles Master Chorale Director, Paul Salamunovich as one of only two singers from CT – and by invitation in musicals at Pomfret School.
Helen is survived by her husband, William R. Van Nieuwenhuyze of N. Grosvenordale CT; her daughters, Lynn Davis and husband Louis of Scottsdale AZ / N. Grosvenordale CT, Linda Van Nieuwenhuyze of Phoenix AZ, Debra and husband Joe Petrick of Henniker NH, Wendy Van Kirk of Shelton CT, Jennifer and husband Gary Gomes of Dudley MA, and son William S. Van Nieuwenhuyze of Meriden, CT.
Her 15 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren, Hillary Davis of Scottsdale, AZ, Alex Davis of Pittsburgh, PA, Beatrice DeSabatino of Bridgeport, CT, Andrew DeSabatino of Phoenix. AZ, Chris and Courtney Petrick; and great-grandson Talis and great-granddaughter Nessa of Windham, ME, William and Colleen Petrick and great-granddaughter Ryan of Randolph, NJ, Joe and Kim Petrick of Henniker, NH, Charlie Petrick of Louisville, KY, Lindsay Van Kirk and Nate Graham and great-granddaughter Flora Louise of Hastings on Hudson, NY, Aubrey Van Kirk of Shelton, CT, Ronald and Taylor Kong of North Haven, CT, William Van Nieuwenhuyze of Meriden, CT, Laratee Van Nieuwenhuyze of Meriden, CT, Kaelin Andersen of N. Grosvenordale, CT, and Quinn and Rebecca Andersen of Dover, DE.
Helen was predeceased by her parents and cherished older sister Georgette, and is survived by her sister Lorraine Belhumeur-Eramo and husband Richard Eramo of N. Providence, RI, her brother Robert and wife Kathy Belhumeur of Smithfield, RI, her brother-in-law and sister-in-law Robert and Marilyn Van Nieuwenhuyze of Smithfield, RI, brother-in-law John Taupier of S. Yarmouth, MA, her best friend Dottie and husband Merrill Seney, and many more cousins, nieces, nephews and friends than can’t be recognized here.
Relatives and friends are invited to a visitation for Helen from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with a prayer service at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 23, 2020 in the Valade Funeral Home & Crematory, 23 Main St., North Grosvenordale. The family has asked that all Covid-19 social distancing precautions be observed during the visitation. Donations in her name can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of CT or to the Anna Maria Fund at Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA. For Memorial Guestbook, please visit www.GilmanandValade.com.