Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Helen Marshall

September 25, 1934 - November 10, 2020
Grand Rapids, MI



Thursday, November 12, 2020
10:00 AM EST
Calvary Church
707 East Beltline Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Web Site


Thursday, November 12, 2020
11:00 AM EST
Calvary Church
707 East Beltline Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Web Site


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.

Faith Hospice
2100 Raybrook Drive SE, Suite 300
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
(616) 235-5113
Driving Directions
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Ball Park Floral
8 Valley Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 459-3409
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Helen Joyce Marshall lived a dynamic and wholehearted life. Helen was a woman whose unwavering faith and call to serve others afforded many safe harbor from life's storms. With a warm smile and an empathetic ear, she could quickly inspire even the most committed curmudgeon to smile. Her quick wit also ensured much laughter when she was around. Helen greeted each day as a gift and every person as a friend; she found the goodness in others and helped them see it in themselves. Cherished by all who were blessed to know her, Helen will long be remembered and ever so missed.

Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression,1934 gave birth to many celebrated firsts. Flash Gordon made his debut while Fuji Photo Film was established. The Three Stooges took center stage in their first short while the nation first met Donald Duck. The year marked the turning point in the Great Depression as the rays of Hope peeked through the clouds of despair in America when unemployment decreased to 22%. Nowhere was there a greater sense of hope than Grand Rapids, Michigan, as Kenneth and Florence Oliver welcomed their daughter Helen into their hearts and home on September 25.

Growing up during the 30s and 40s in West Michigan, Helen's early years were spent in the good company of her younger sister, Betty. As her father was a career military man, serving in the Army during WWII and on many overseas bases, he was not home much. Her mother worked full time at Oliver Machinery while also ensuring the good care of her two daughters. In time, Kenneth and Florence divorced, and Florence remarried. One of the gifts from this marriage was the birth of Helen's half brother, William.

Though Betty was much more social than Helen, the sisters enjoyed a close relationship that often found them at Richmond Park, sledding and ice skating during the winter months. Since their mother worked full-time, the girls often took care of each other, including making their own meals. Naturally quiet and content to entertain herself, Helen found much enjoyment in music and reading, while Saturdays were spent at the local cinema watching all-day movies.

Helen attended Stocking School and Creston High School. As she wasn't into the social scene, her teen years were not her favorite. The highlight for her was getting a job at a local radio station as a DJ "spinning" records.

With an undeniable desire to be of service to others, especially in their time of need, after graduating from high school, Helen received CNA certification from Saint Mary's Hospital.

While dining out with friends, Helen had the good fortune of meeting a young man named Burton "Bud" Marshall. Instantly smitten, the young couple dated for six months and married at the courthouse, July 5, 1956. In celebration of their nuptials, the bride and groom enjoyed a family dinner at Bud's parents' home.

The newlyweds settled into married life on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids. A veteran of the Korean Conflict, Bud was employed at Oliver Manufacturing. As the couple welcomed children into their family, Helen committed herself to their good care and ensuring they grew up in a loving and supportive home. Mostly a stay at home mother of her five children, she was a dedicated and busy mom. Helen consciously built her parenting on the firm foundation of her faith and family traditions, and the family attended local Baptist churches. Holidays centered on time with grandparents, often enjoying Helen's delicious homemade fudge. Over the years, she made different flavors as she learned each family member's favorite. Many family trips were taken together, including adventures to Cedar Pointe, Grand Haven, and Gun Lake.

Helen was an excellent listener, and her children felt completely at ease confiding in her. There was never a doubt that she had complete faith in her family members, and while she shared what she believed in, she never judged or guilt-tripped them. Instead, she reflected their greatness and cheered on their every endeavor. Helen never outgrew her role as a mom, and her children still looked to her for wisdom and support.

For over 40 years, Helen devoted herself to patient care at Mercy Health St. Mary's. It was her greatest joy to serve others during their most vulnerable time, and she possessed a natural talent for putting people at ease. Her second greatest source of joy was volunteering at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Supporting our veterans was a passion Helen felt strongly about. She instilled in her family a deep love and respect for our veterans, and she loved reading, feeding, doing activities with them. Never one to sit idle for long, Helen was always quick to volunteer her time and talent. In addition to her work at St. Mary's and with the veterans, she also volunteered at RAPID, helping the elderly and disabled successfully access and utilize public transportation.

Prior to retirement and Budd battling cancer, the couple enjoyed traveling. Many trips were taken to Nashville and the Smokey Mountains that she loved so much. As her children grew into adulthood and had families of their own, Helen's joy even greater. She adored her grandchildren and relished in acknowledging their special days and spending as much time with them as possible. As with her children, she enveloped her grandchildren with love, grace, and understanding, creating deep trust and special bonds with each of them. In her quiet time, Helen enjoyed listening to the classic songs of Elvis and Rosemary Clooney, as well as reading her favorite poets', Emily Matthews, Helen Steiner Rice, inspiring work.

For eight years, Helen lived at Villa Maria. With signature generosity and passion, during these years, she served as resident association president and was instrumental in getting sugar-free desserts provided to the residents, padded benches added to the property, and birdseed for the feeders. She also helped with the weekly chapel service.

Without a doubt, the world certainly seems duller in the absence of Helen's steadfast light. May we find comfort in the honor of carrying her legacy of love and generosity forward. With each moment we give of our talents, support our veterans, curl up with a book, or make our loved one their favorite treat, we celebrate the many ways Helen gifted our lives. In so doing, we keep her spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.

Helen J. Marshall, of Grand Rapids, MI, age 86, went home to be with the Lord while in the company of her family on November 10, 2020. Along with her parents, she is also preceded in death by her husband of 46 years, Burton "Bud" Marshall, son Dean Marshall, son-in-law, Don Holstege, and brother, William Piechocki. Helen is survived by her children, Douglas Marshall, Valerie Holstege, Kevin Marshall, Laurel (Bill) Ross; 11 grandchildren; many great-grandchildren; and her sister, Betty Gryczan.

A funeral service will be held Thursday, November 12, 2020, at 11 AM at Calvary Church in the chapel, 707 E. Beltline Ave NE. Friends may visit with her family beginning at 10 AM. Entombment will be in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. Memorials may be made to Faith Hospice of Holland Home. To read more of Helen's Life Story, leave a memory or condolence, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.