M. Helen Martin
Helen Martin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on June 22, 1936, the third daughter of Archibald McElheran and Marjorie Goulding, and sister to Ruth and Lois. She grew up a proudly Prairie girl, and earned her degree in Home Economics at the University of Manitoba in 1957.
She met her future husband, Samuel Arthur Martin, on a summer day at the Winnipeg Canoe club, and they were married in 1958. They would later move to London, Ontario, where they raised four children, Leslie, David, Kristen and Geoffrey. In London, Helen was an active member of the Anglican Church, and a volunteer at University Hospital, interests she would continue for her entire life.
In 1974, the family moved to a farm just outside of London, and it was here at ‘Lyndinshire’ that Helen’s true talents bloomed. From carding and spinning her own wool, to driving tractors, Helen inspired all her friends and family with her countless skills, inspired creativity and boundless enthusiasm. Whether it was making pickles or refinishing pine furniture, the only thing she liked more than making things with her hands was sharing them with her heart.
After her husband Sam died in 1989, Helen maintained the family farm and her work in the community, as well as taking on the new and expanding role of granny to 11 grandchildren, a task she dearly loved.
Helen led an active life. She loved riding bikes, and exercise class was one of her favourite activities, as much as for the friendships as the fitness. Helen always walked her own road, and in 2007, she did this in dramatic style, walking the famous Camino de Santiago in Spain on her own. It was one of her proudest achievements, and she was fond of sharing the stories of her adventures with her many friends.
Chocolate was her weakness, and faith was her strength. She believed in the inherent goodness of people, and gave tirelessly of herself to those in need. Throughout her life, Helen kept up relationships with a wonderful cast of characters who were both the source and object of her love. Once her friend, you were always her friend.
Helen recently moved to Toronto to be closer to her children, and it was here and with her family around her that her walk on this earth ended, as she was very clear to tell us, ‘in her 80th year’. Thanks to the many kind people who provided for Helen in her later years. There are too many of you to list here, but she, and her family, are grateful for everything you did to make her life better.
Helen’s life will be celebrated at the Church of St. John the Divine, in Arva, Ontario, at 11 am on Friday, April 22. Flowers are always beautiful, but a donation to the Centre for Activity & Aging at Mount St. Joseph would be a legacy that will last as long as Helen’s memory will live inside all of us who knew her.
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