August 27, 1924 – January 22, 2022
Helen passed away unexpectedly on January 22, 2022, at the age of 97.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Edward “Bud” Griffith; parents, JP and Sybil Dillon; brother, Bob Dillon; and sister, Leone Tantillo.
Helen was a loving and amazing mom and woman. She started out as a phone operator for the “Bell” companies and that is where she met her husband, Bud. They met at a union hall dance, and it was a marriage that lasted 43 years until Bud passed away in 1995. She ended her career with Mutual of Omaha after 15 years. At that point she volunteered, traveled, and enjoyed spending time with her many friends and family. Helen was a true Irish beauty and will be missed by many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
She is survived by children: Cyndi Wilson, Steve Griffith (Cindy), Nancy Tillman, Jim Griffith (Beth), Bill Griffith (Dawn), Victoria Lorenz (Mike); grandchildren: Mike Logsdon (Kristen), Katie Fisher (Steve), Sean Logsdon (Rhiannon), Jeff Griffith (Steph), Chris Griffith (Collen), Charity Sapp, Chelsey Sapp, Max Rusike-Griffith (Teri), Mindy Lorenz Barnes (David), Calvin Tillman (Allie), Abby Griffith, Nikki Tillman, Jack Griffith, and Olivia Griffith; great-grandchildren: Autumn Fisher, Emma Fisher, Reed Fisher, Lucy Fisher, Reagan Logsdon, Pierce Logsdon, McKinley Logsdon, Liam Logsdon, Sam Griffith, Chase Griffith, Addie Griffith, Mason Griffith, Rhowyn Lorenz Barnes, and Raevyn Lorenz Barnes; ; sister, Margaret Kalina; brother, Jerry Dillon (Anita); brother-in-law, Stan Ernst; brother-in-law, Richard “Dick” Griffith (Kathy).
The family will receive friends Thursday, January 27th from 4:30pm to 6:30pm at the West Center Chapel, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 6:30pm. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Friday, January 28th at 10:30am at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 6905 Blondo Street. Interment: Calvary Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to St. Pius X Catholic Church.
Helen’s journey began a long, long time ago in the City of Brayton, Nebraska in the County of Greeley, to the parents of Sybil N. Brown and John P. Dillon.
Along the road, a young man crossed her path, Bud Griffith. Bud was smitten immediately. They met at a Union Hall dance and at the end of the dance Bud asked Helen if he could walk her home. The next day he told his friend, Suds Salisbury, he was going to marry this woman. And as they say, “The rest of the story is history.” A new chapter for Helen and Bud started on January 19, 1952.
It was a short honeymoon as Helen and Bud wasted no time in starting a family. While raising six children, needless to say, Helen spent quite a bit of time caring for, encouraging, wiping away tears, celebrating successes, chauffeuring from event to event, and watching her children grow. She attended sporting events, school events and anything else that six kids could be involved in. She was a very strong woman who raised six children and worked outside the home. During this time, she built friendships that lasted a lifetime (more to come on this later). When the grandkids and great-grandkids came along Helen showed them the same love and caring that her kids received, with the exception of maybe more cookies, candy and presents. But none of her kids are bitter!
Her personality and love of family made her the life of the party. Helen was on everyone’s invite list for any type of celebration, she was always going somewhere. You had to call ahead to get your name on the calendar that hung in her kitchen. She was the life of the party, non-stop energy, laughing and making others laugh. At the end of the party, it took Helen a good 30 minutes to say goodbye to everyone, she did not want leave! Helen loved the outside with gardening and being near the water. She loved soaking in the sun either sitting on the beach, a boat or a jet ski and couldn’t even swim.
Even with a busy family life, Helen still made time for herself and Bud. She was elegant, beautiful and a stylish dresser. Saturday nights were date nights. Helen and Bud would go out with friends for drinks, dinner and dancing. Helen was dressed to the nines with a fetching figure and her hair and make- up were perfect. She never looked or acted her age, even on the day she passed away.
Helen embraced life, she was adventurous and always smiling, even while raising six kids. One of her favorite days of the year is St. Patrick’s Day. Every year on St. Patrick’s Day, she was elevated to celebrity status along with her two sisters, Leone and Margaret. The three sisters were pioneers of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Helen kept up with the best of them, started at 8am and went to 5pm (she rationed her drinks). You know it was a good day, when you would call to see how her day was and you could barely hear her, because she lost her voice from all the talking and laughing. Helen also loved travelling with bands of family and friends, travelling the US and Europe. All you had to say was, “Helen we are taking a trip, want to come along?” She was always up for an adventure. Helen always wanted to document her travels in a log, but she was too busy living the adventure!
Back to the friendships Helen built over the years. She had a strong support group of friends. There was the birthday lunch club, the Bunco group, swimming, and many others. One group Helen spoke of the most is the Rosary group. She received and shared comfort from this group. Helen and the Rosary group also provided comfort to people they never met. If you had a relative or friend that needed help, Helen would ask the Rosary group to pray for them. She was a great listener and would listen to people for hours (when you called the phone it would ring busy for hours). We finally had to get her “call waiting”. After listening, Helen would console and then provide advice to her friends and family. She always had time for anyone and was able to talk to anyone. As a matter of fact, that is how she picked out her only favorite son-in-law.
Helen’s faith in God is what kept her going through the ups and downs of life. Her family and friends are the ones that supported her when she needed it. She was there for all of us by being in our lives. Helen believed in giving back. She was a founding member of St. Pius the Tenth Catholic Church. Helen demonstrated her devotion to the church by volunteering, working funerals, assisting with Ann’s Attic, greeter at church, and the prayer line.
To be continued….her legacy will live on, in all of us being good to one another, showing your children and grandchildren that it is not what we have in life, but who we have in our life that matters.
We love her, we like her and we mean it!