Helen Wolfe Dewey, 74, of rural Benzonia Township, died in hospice care at home from metastatic breast cancer on September 7, 2022. Helen was born January 25, 1948, in Englewood, NJ, to Hugh C. Wolfe, a theoretical physicist and Ithmer Wolfe, a school librarian. She graduated from Tenafly High School (NJ) as valedictorian in 1966. She earned an AB degree in Urban Studies from Brown University in 1970 and a Masters of Library Science from the University of Maryland (College Park) in 1985.
On December 27, 1970, she married Ensign Roger S. Dewey, USN, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with the ceremony presided over by her brother, Jim. Their honeymoon was a three-day ride in Helen’s VW bug from Harrisburg to Pensacola, Florida, where Roger was in Navy pilot training.
Helen is survived by her husband of 51 years, Roger, her daughters, Margaret E. Dewey (Charles Denison) and Jocelyn D. Bothe (Mark Noonan); her brother, James S. Wolfe (Susan), and literally dozens of nieces; nephews; and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Arthur Wolfe (Shirley); and his sister, Elizabeth Kenyon (Bill).
Helen learned the value of hard work from her parents. As a young teenager, she worked for neighbors, mowed the yard, shoveled snow and babysat. During summers in Benzie County, MI, she also learned forest crafts from her uncle, Winslow Wolfe, and her father. His life’s formative experiences included working in the civil rights movement (for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) at a voter registration drive in Cleveland, OH, and attending Tougaloo College in MS in as an exchange student from Brown University. She supported human rights causes. Helen loved the outdoors and met her husband through the Brown University Outing Club. Growing up summers on the North Shore of Crystal Lake with loads of cousins gave her a love of the beauty of nature in that area and led to their decision to retire to their lakeside cabin in 2004 Helen enjoyed biking, kayaking on rivers, walking the trails of Arcadia Dunes, genealogy, solving words and puzzles, and lots of reading (on an e-reader and listening to audiobooks while his eyesight was declining due to glaucoma). As the wife of a career Navy pilot, Helen lived in many cities in the eastern United States and was able to visit several foreign countries. Helen’s professional career has been as the Information Services Librarian at the Pohick Branch of the Fairfax County Public Library System in Virginia. Finding answers for people was a rewarding profession. She always said that librarians don’t need to know the answers; they just needed to know how to find the answers. Retiring to Benzie County, she served on the Mid-Michigan Library League Board of Trustees, then was elected to the Benzonia Public Library Board of Trustees, where she served for years as Treasurer. Volunteering has always been an important part of Helen’s life. Helen’s most rewarding volunteer work in Benzie County has been stimulating interest in reading among children and young adults. As part of summer reading programs for area libraries, she has visited classrooms throughout Benzie County to deliver “lectures” on hundreds of fiction and non-fiction titles to encourage students to take (or listen to) books. Helen has served on various church committees at the First Congregational Church of Benzonia, UCC, including serving as a church trustee. She also volunteered as a guide at Point Betsie Lighthouse.
A celebration of life will be held at First Congregational Church of Benzonia, UCC on September 17, 2022 at 3:30 p.m., with visitation one hour prior. Helen donated her body to the University of Michigan Medical School for the purpose of advancing medical education and research. When the U. of M. will be done with her, some of her ashes will be interred in the church’s memorial garden, and someday the rest will join Roger’s in the columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in Helen’s memory are suggested to the Benzonia Public Library Endowment Fund at the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation (gtrcf.org) or directly to the Benzonia Public Library (www.benzonialibrary .org). Arrangements by Jowett
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