Helen Mae <I>Steele</I> Alspaugh

Helen Mae Steele Alspaugh

Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio, USA
Death 13 Nov 2005 (aged 96)
Rock Mill, Fairfield County, Ohio, USA
Burial Amanda, Fairfield County, Ohio, USA
Memorial ID 12337533 View Source
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My mother was above all a survivor. When she was 83 her house burned to the ground, and she not only escaped, but she crawled through the woods, up and down a ravine to get to my house. She broke into my house, and "stole" one of my husband's beers (she didn't drink regularly). Even more remarkable was that she was legally blind at the time. She later had laser surgery which restored her sight. The first thing she said to me was, "You look so much older!"

She was the fifth child of James Steele and Susie Healy Steele. James took off when my mother was born and was not known to pay child support, so Susie had to support the children anyway that she could. My grandmother took in washing, cleaned houses, and worked in factories. My mother had to quit school to help support her mother who by that time had crippling arthritis. When she was 23, my mother met my dad, and they married 20 days later. My dad
Ray Alspaugh
took in my grandmother and supported her financially and my mother took care of her physically. My mother and father had three kids, Gerald, Gloria (died in 1985) and me. She gave food to pantries, even though she was widowed relatively young and never had any extra money. She donated money to Children's Hospital and Feed the Children. Since her father didn't support her, and her mother had to work so hard just to keep a roof over their heads, the only new clothing my mother ever got as a child was from Charity Newsies. So every year I donate to Charity Newsies.

My husband Bill (also on find a grave) helped my mother around the house and kept her car running and was very good to her all the years we were married. She considered Bill her own son and took his death very hard. She was quite stubborn, and believed in God. We are not having a viewing or a funeral for my mother as my brother and I are not able to go through it. When my mother died I was out hiking and could not be reached, but I don't feel guilty about it, because she was very health oriented. She ate very healthy foods and exercised daily until the last year or so.

When she was 60 years old, my mother went back to school to study for her GED (since she had to quit school to take care of her mother) and secretarial training. She was an "expert" in the English language and constantly worked crossword puzzles, the harder the better. Once when I commented that I hated puzzles, she said, "I do, too! I do this to exercise my brain." She got her driver's license when she was in her 50s after my father died. She loved the color pink and in her later years she also liked yellow. She felt purple was a depressing color, yet violets were her favorite flower.

She loved the beauty of nature. She read Shakespeare and myths about gods when she was a teen-ager, and was an incurable romantic. She loved music: years ago, Bing Crosby and Nat "King" Cole, The Beatles (she listened with me), but all music except country. In her last years she discovered The Irish Tenors from a PBS show (she loved PBS) and spent many happy hours watching "Live from Belfast!" Her granddaughter-in-law wrote The Irish Tenors and one of them sent Helen an autographed picture which she kept on an end table.

She wanted to go to Hollywood and become an actress but in those days it was not something for a "good" girl and her mother wouldn't let her go. I've always wondered how her life would have been different if she had taken the chance. Oh, yeah, how could I forget? She was a VERY strict parent. I hated that so I was a very lenient one. Guess what? It didn't matter.

She used to make my clothes out of feed sacks, without using a pattern. When I started school, I had a short sleeved red print dress with a sash and a similar blue long sleeved dress. I loved those dresses. Even back then, no one else made feed sack dresses.

The first thing she did when she got her pension check was buy dog food for her dog (or dogs) as for over 20 years she had a dog or two that had been dumped out. One dog was a little chubby so Mommy always bought low calorie dog food for her. Then she would buy canned goods and boxes of macaroni and cheese to donate to the food bank at church. THEN and only then would she buy her own food. She said she was doing it because she didn't need to overeat and it was for her own health, but she was very shy and never took credit for anything she did.

We found her Bible, with dates noted. She read the Bible from cover to cover every year for twenty-six years. She stopped in the last years because it was too difficult for her to see.

As I write this, my mother has been in Heaven approximately six hours. I think I am still in shock. Posting my mother on findagrave was the first thing I wanted to do. May God bless us all!

For her funeral, I picked mint sprigs from my herb garden - yes, I inherited my green thumb from my mother - and a pink rose in full bloom along with a bud (mother and child) and made her a bouquet to travel with her.

And as my brother reminded us all, the one thing our mother hated above all else was racial prejudice. Not all people in her age group were as enlightened as she was. Her husband, Rev. Ray Alspaugh, was also deeply offended and angered by racial prejudice. They both said it was a mark of extreme stupidity.

The special joy in her life were my two grandchildren, and I felt she literally kept herself alive to see my second grandson come into this world. The last time we spoke she talked of Eli and his daddy at the same age. She was very proud of my daughter for having the courage to pick up stakes and move west.

I was proud to serve as pallballer for my mother.

Through many changes, toils and snares
We have already come
'Twas Grace that brought us safe thus far,
and Grace will lead us home.


Thanks to all for their loving support. Special thanks to Angels Flower Garden member Sharon M for sponsoring my mother's memorial.

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.

Revelations 21:4 - And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

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