Good Evening Church,
It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of Helen Schieffer.
Helen went to be with the LORD this morning, April 6th.
Let us keep her family and each other in prayer as we all grieve the loss of a beloved sister in Christ.
I will keep you informed of the family's plans as they become known.
Blessings in Christ,
Rev. Akio Iyoda, Pastor
Helen Carolyn (Root) Schieffer (February 24, 1929 - April 7, 2021)
Born in Lynchburg VA to Lloyd and Mary Root and raised in North Tonawanda, NY along with her two younger sisters, Mary and Elaine. During the beginning of WWII she, along with her childhood friends, worked as kitchen aides at the DeGraff Memorial Hospital for three years. At 17 she moved to Long Island to help her Aunt Helen Rice take care of her little boys. While walking around the Hofstra campus she was approached by the dean who encouraged her to register for classes. Helen graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and participated in the first ever Hofstra Shakespeare Festival play, Julius Caesar. While on a double date, she met a very handsome John Frank Schieffer, who would later become her husband. John, affectionately called Jack by all, and Helen were married on July 3, 1951 and in 1952 they welcomed their first child Barbara Joan. In 1954 they bought a house in Merrick where they welcomed John Lloyd (1955), Elizabeth Jean (1957) and Laura Jane (1964).
Helen was a very active member of the Merrick Methodist Church (now MUMC) for over 65 years and superintendent of a thriving Sunday school. She loved music and played both the cello and guitar, along with singing Alto in the MUMC choir for over 60 years. She reluctantly gave it up after surviving jaw cancer surgery in 2015.
She was a member of the Brotherhood Council, a local ecumenical group, and was instrumental in establishing the first Brotherhood Council Concert in 1967, which continues to be a yearly tradition 50+ years later. In the early 1970’s Helen was part of a group that helped create the Middle Earth Crisis Hotline, the first crisis hotline on Long Island. As an integral member of a local women’s group she became aware of plans to develop the present Camman’s Pond Park in South Merrick and shared the information with her brother-in-law David Rosenbluth, a Newsday reporter. Together they were successful in saving the pond from development.
In 1968 after all four children were in school Helen went back to work as a Social Worker for Nassau County. During this time she worked as a Caseworker in Protective Services and Foster Care, and retired as a Nassau County Probation Officer in 1992. After retirement Helen would volunteer yearly as an election poll worker, was a Merrick Film Forum board member, enjoyed the Merrick Symphony, supported local theater groups, was an avid bird watcher and had many artistic hobbies such as doll making, needlepoint, chair caning and furniture refinishing, just to name a few.
Throughout her entire life Helen was an avid reader, “News Junkie”, pacifist, and environmentalist. She cherished her yearly summers on Lake Ontario with her extended family and drew great pleasure from making homemade computer cards and mailing them out to EVERYONE in the family; as well as staying in touch with family and friends through Facebook and emails. Of course family time was the perfect time to sing folk songs like The Song of the Temperance Union, Smoked His Cigar, Fifteen Miles on The Erie Canal, Black Socks and some of her favorite hymns This Is My Father’s World and Let There Be Peace on Earth.
Helen is survived by three children: John (Denise), Betsy (Pieter), and Laura (Brian); five grandchildren: Kristin (Patrick), Katie (Garrett), Brianne, Shannon (Ryan) and Eric; three great-grandchildren: Reed, Cora, and June; and cousins: Virginia, David (Mara), Diane (Bob), Janet (Thom), Fritz, Ed and the beloved little boys she took care of all those years ago Cliff and John (Luene). She is also survived by four nieces, three nephews, five great grand nieces, nine great grand nephews, two great great grand nieces and one great great grand nephew… and more on the way! She was predeceased by her husband Jack, daughter Barbara, granddaughter Carrie, her sisters Mary and Elaine and her daughter-in-law Debbie.
The family will be having a late summer memorial on Long Island and another in her beloved Outing Park. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you honor Helen by making a donation to one of the many charities she supported, including Bellmore-Merrick EMS, ACLU, Greenpeace, Audubon, Sierra Club, Special Olympics, Wilderness Society, Ocean Conservancy, Amnesty International, OXFAM, or simply plant a tree in her name.
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