THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Helen V. Church, 86, of Aurora, passed away on Sunday, July 29 at Dickinson County Healthcare System.
Born on Feb. 12, 1926 in Armstrong Creek, daughter of the late Peter and Mary (Janik) Czech, she was raised in this area and graduated from Goodman High School in 1944.
During summer vacations from high school, she was involved in the World War II effort by working as an assembler in an airplane parts factory. She married Gordon Church on Oct. 16, 1948 at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Armstrong Creek. She worked as a machine operator at Hancock Wood Products for 30 years and was also the union steward and union president there. Before working a full-time job she raised 10 children and as a talented seamstress, sewed much of the wardrobe for herself and six daughters.
She was a member of Sacred Heart Church, Christian Mothers of Sacred Heart and the Polish National Alliance. She spoke fluent Polish her entire life and was a talented chef of Polish foods. She was an American Cancer Society volunteer and participated 30 years in the Society's Cancer Prevention Study-II, providing information to cancer risk researchers. She was active in the Aurora Sewing Club, the Senior Exercise Club and enjoyed gardening.
She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Gordon; children, Juanita (David Burgess) Carlson of Lawrence, Kan., Katherine (Ray) Mianecki of Green Bay, Marilyn (Bill) Vassar and Joseph Church, both of Aurora, Patricia (David) Menace of Iron Mountain, Fran (Andy) Herman and Veronica Church, both of Niagara, Gerard (Linda) Church of Homestead and Jon Church of Kingsford; 21 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and other relatives.
Along with her parents, she was preceded in death by a son, Peter; two brothers, Paul and Andrew; three sisters, Katherine, Genevieve and Marie and brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
Visitation was from 9 a.m. until time of the Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 1 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Aurora. Fr. Matthew Settle officiated and burial was in the Homestead-Aurora Cemetery on Friday, Aug. 3 at 11:30 a.m. Her grandsons served as pallbearers. The family entrusted Tondin-Ross & Freeman Funeral Home of Iron Mountain with the funeral arrangements.
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