Wednesday, January 6, 2021
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
3511 Leoanard Street NW
Walker, MI 49534
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With an infectious laugh and a welcoming heart, Helen Chicklon lived a life rich in faith, family, and friends. Helen's unwavering faith inspired her to embrace life's joys and challenges equally, with wise gratitude for the Divine gifts in both. She welcomed each day, and treasured spending time with those she loved, showering them with her goodness and joy. Though she possessed a bit of feistiness, it was her wonderful, warm personality and gift for connecting with others that inspired all who were blessed to know her. When sharing Helen's good company, there truly was no difficulty that could not be lessened, and joy was always increased. Cherished by all who were blessed to know her, Helen will long be remembered and ever so missed.
With The Great War behind us, the 1920s gave birth to many firsts that helped pave the way for a decade of abundance and much celebration for our nation. The year began with high hopes as The Great Steel Strike ended and the US census proved for the first time in history more Americans lived in urban areas than rural. With the inventions of the hairdryer, Qtips, and traffic lights, greater ease and comfort for many became the new normal. Hope grew exponentially later in the year with the ratification of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote, and millions of women were working white-collar jobs. While riding the post-war quiet and the nation's feelings of high hope and good fortune, Carl and Otillia (Schumacher) Vogel added to history's lists of celebrations when they welcomed their daughter Helen into their hearts and home on May 14, in Comstock Park, Michigan.
The third of the four Vogel children, Helen's early years centered around the many chores that came with growing up on the family farm at the corner of 8 Mile and Alpine Ave. Though she didn't really like the chores, she made many fond memories. She attended Coon School, and her family attended Immanuel Lutheran Church, where the firm foundation of her unwavering faith was first built. In her youth, she cleaned houses then worked in factories, supporting the nation's efforts during WWII.
On May 15, 1943, Helen married Raymond Chickon. Soon, the happy couple was blessed to welcome children into their family. Paul and Mary quickly became the centers of Helen's world, and she devoted her life to the care of her family. With humility and kindness, she enjoyed creating a loving and supportive home for her family that was firmly rooted in the value of the simple things in life. The cornerstone upon which Helen built her life was her faith, which she explored and celebrated as a longtime member of Hope Lutheran Church. A fellowship member for nearly 80 years, Helen was revered by the congregation she so loved.
For much of her married life, Helen lived on Sylvia Street NW, where she used her spiritual gift of hospitality to welcome and connect with others. Her home was a sanctuary where neighbors, friends, and family gathered and were enveloped in Helen's loving care. She always had a snack and a cup of coffee waiting, and her laughter filled the home. Having never learned to drive, Helen valued her neighbors' kindness and consciously tended to her friendships with them. Even during her later years, as she needed more help, she treated her care providers with signature grace and appreciation.
One of her grandsons, Tom Stehouwer, summarized her life best with an elementary school project: "My Grandma was born on May 14, 1920, in Comstock Park, Michigan. Her full name is Helen Freda (Vogel) Chicklon. She lived on a farm until she got married. She had two brothers and one sister.
She had a great life. She can remember when she used to stay with her mom, and she sang songs to her.
Her mom and dad worked on the farm. Her dad was a jolly man, and her mom was sincere about things. Her dad plowed the fields with a horse and plow.
At school, a boy had head lice, and she knew it. When he looked at her, he had to sit by her. So, she took her pen, put it on his cheek, and pushed his head away.
She went to the pond with her sister and saw a crane and thought it was a stork. They went back to get her baby brother, then they went home, and her mom asked, "where is your baby brother?" She left him there and thought the stork got him.
She did housework for $3 a week. Then she found a job for $6 a week on the same kind of job.
At Christmas, she traveled in a Model T Ford with side covers. If the snow was too deep, they went in a horse and sleigh.
For entertainment, she got together with her friends for dances. They also got together and played cards, and she still likes to do this.
She has nothing to remember her mom and dad by because they had no cameras. She had shirts her grandma made. She treasured these shirts because her grandma made them.
She thinks country people can make life happier. Country people got along fine without modern things.
When my grandma was a young girl, the boys wore pants and T-shirts, and the girls wore dresses and skirts. My grandma remembers her sister bought a coat for $5, and her mom thought that was a lot of money. She once bought a dress for $2.
The subjects my grandma studied were reading, writing, arithmetic, history, and geography. She only went through 8 grades of school because she had no way to get to a high school. The school day lasted from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM. If you were bad, you got hit by a ruler. If you chewed gum, you had to put it on your nose and go in front of the class. Her favorite class was arithmetic, and history was boring for her.
A large part of my grandma's life was going to church. She loved it and still does. She doesn't go as often as she likes because she doesn't drive. My Grandma Chicklon says, 'the way to life is to listen to your teachers and parents. The main thing is to listen to and love Jesus.'"
Clearly, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Helen's steadfast and loving presence. May our many warm memories and the privilege of carrying her legacy of faith and hospitality forward provide deep comfort.
Helen Freida Chicklon, age 100 of Grand Rapids, passed away December 30, 2020. She was preceded in death by her husband, Raymond; and by her siblings Gustav Vogel, Ruth Leemon, and Carl Vogel.
She is survived by her children Paul (Terri) Chicklon and Mary (Tom) Stehouwer; grandchildren Stacy (Crystal Gadson) Atkinson, Erica (Mark) Spore, Katie (Clint) Throop, Tom (Michelle) Stehouwer; great-grandchildren Kaden Atkinson, Christian and Jocelin Throop, Coco Stehouwer, and Remy G Gadson.
Helen’s family will receive visitors on Wednesday from 10 – 11 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW. However, under current pandemic conditions, please do not feel obligated to attend, but instead visit her memory page to share a memory, sign her guestbook or convey your condolences. Interment will follow at Mt. Calvary Cemetery. For those who wish, memorial contributions to Yorkshire Manor are appreciated. To read more about Helen’s life visit www.heritagelifestory.com