Condolences to the Family of Helen Jane McLaughlin

Memorial Service for Helen McLaughlin on Saturday, January 13, 2024 at UUMC.

University UMC extends our deepest condolences to the Family of Helen Jane McLaughlin who died on December 30, 2023 from complications due to pneumonia.

The memorial service for Helen Jane McLaughlin will be at 11:00 am, Saturday, January 13, 2024, University United Methodist Church, 1120 South Harrison Road, East Lansing, Michigan, with Rev. Alice Fleming Townley officiating and Pastor Melanie Carey assisting. Visitation will start an hour prior to the service. Of course, a meal will follow featuring some of Helen’s favorite recipes. Per her wishes, cremation has occurred and her ashes will be interred in the church’s Memorial Garden. View the livestream of the memorial service on January 13 at 11:00 a.m.

Helen Jane McLaughlin (Abel) died on December 30, 2023 due to complications from pneumonia, with her beloved husband John, by her side. Many family and friends sat vigil with John during Helen’s final days. She was born on November 24, 1931, at home on the family farm in Sand Lake, Michigan. When Helen was a sophomore in high school, the family moved to a larger farm in Cedar Springs, Michigan.

Helen is survived by her love of 73 years, John Maxwell; son David Scott; daughter Betsy (Elizabeth Mae) Rueckert (David); daughter-in-law Mary Sue McLaughlin; and grandchildren, Emma, Lara, Sara, Helen, Abraham, and his fiance, Mackenzie; her sisters Martha Eppler and Edna Fleming along with their families; in addition, three generations of nieces and nephews.

She is predeceased by son Carl Maurice; daughter-in-law, Carolyn Jean; parents, Alice Mae and Carl Floyd Abel; parents-in-law Alice Elizabeth and Henry Charles Maurice McLaughlin; and, brothers and sister, Albert, Allyn and Trudy.

Helen and John met in the fall of 1950 at Michigan State College with their first official date being the Homecoming football game that year. They were engaged the next spring and married June 19, 1954, two weeks after graduation. 2024 would have been their 70th anniversary. Helen taught Home Economics for Morrice and Cedar Springs schools. Moved seven times with John and their family. Earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education, which she taught for 17 years at Mason Middle School. They made two trips around the world to be with John’s parents in India. 1960 with Carl. Then in 1970 with Carl, David and Betsy. After John retired in 1983, Helen realized he was having too many adventures without her, so she retired in 1987. Thus began over 30 years of world travel, mission trips, and overseas visits.

Helen’s joys of church, teaching, travel and cooking were often combined into one big experience. She was thrilled to feed minds, hearts, souls and bodies. Helen was a Docent for the Michigan Historical Museum for over 25 years; leading many tours costumed as a 1950s Housewife. She could look at a recipe which served eight and easily increase it to feed two hundred. If you got a call from Helen you knew you would be helping in a kitchen in East Lansing or Louisiana or maybe, Costa Rica.

The McLaughlin Family sends their sincerest thank you to everyone at Vista Springs Timber Ridge for providing a compassionate home for Helen and John. We also thank Elara Hospice Care for giving Helen peace and comfort.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorial gifts to University United Methodist Church, 1120 South Harrison Road, East Lansing, Michigan, 48823.

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