It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Helen Rose Johnson on July 8th. Helen was the youngest daughter of John and Marietta Peters and the last living member of a family consisting of two brothers and five sisters (Antoinette, Stephen (Peppy). Gloria, Marie, Florence (Chubby), Anna, and John. All predeceased her throughout her life and she missed them all every day especially Anna, whom the two were inseparable.
Helen and her family grew up on Overlook Place in the city of Newburgh surrounded by many friends, some from the same area of Italy as her father. Growing up in an environment in which the family was close and lived nearby only added to the memories she would often share with us. No matter the hardships or good times, it always seemed the family were there for one another. She attended South Junior High School but like most children during that time, had to leave school to help support her family. She made some great school friends many of which she kept in touch with throughout her life but her family needed her and she didn’t think twice to help out. Regardless of her education, she was a smart lady and was always one to speak her mind no matter what.
Helen married Leland (Buddy) Johnson and together they raised two sons, Leland III and Jeffrey. Both Leland Sr. and her eldest son, predeceased her as well. Her youngest son Jeffrey married Barbara Somerville and together they had two sons Zachary (fiancée Jessica Nicklin) and Matthew (fiancée Alyssa Alverez). She was the consummate grandmother and never turned away any request to spend time with “her boys”. She would constantly say it was like re-living her life all over again. Prior to preschool, she was there nearly every day without hesitation to watch her grandsons while their parents worked and it was such a relief to know that your children were in the best hands and never a need to worry. She took this role serious enough that she retired from her job in order to help her family do whatever was needed when it came to her grandsons. She never complained and often looked forward to spending as much time with her grandsons as she could. Helen worked at a few local shops in Newburgh but was really a home maker. Even while she worked, her schedule always took into account when her sons would be coming home from school and she needed to be there for them.
Those who met Helen always referred to her as “Aunt Helen” since she always seemed to connect with anyone. Growing up our friends were always invited in for snacks or dinner especially when she knew they wouldn’t have supper that day. She knew how and loved to converse with people even if she didn’t know you. She was always shown respect from our friends and when we would run into them years later, they always asked how my Mom was doing.
Helen knew how to throw a party and I can recall many happy occasions in which many of my aunts and uncles gathered in our home during special times and she always knew how to entertain. She loved to dance and you could always find her on the dance floor with her sisters or cousins as soon as the music started. She also had an eye for fashion and would always dress as if she were on the red carpet.
Visitation will be from 3 to 7 pm. Tuesday, July 13th at the direction of Hudson Valley Funeral Home, 239 Quassaick Ave, New Windsor. A catholic mass will be held at 10 am the next day at Sacred Heart Church, Rt. 9W, Newburgh, NY and burial at Calvary Cemetery shortly thereafter. For further details or condolences, please contact Hudson Valley Funeral Home or visit www.hudsonvalleyfh.com.
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