Helen Freeman French, born Dec. 23, 1934, died Oct. 9, 2013.
She was born a coal miner’s daughter and left this earthly world a ROSE.
Devoted wife and mother who lived a full beautiful life. Helping her husband James D. French in the successful French’s Food Markets from 1955-1980, while at the same time actively involved in every aspect of her three children’s world. Den mother, room mother, PTA, ballgames, and fundraisers, no matter what it was, she was always there.
Helen and her husband enjoyed traveling the world together to Spain, Hawaii, Africa, Italy, the Caribbean Islands, and many other places until Jim’s death in 1983. They also enjoyed boating and going on weekend excursions with other members of the Oak Ridge Boat Club. Helen continued her involvement with the same group until her illness in 2010.
In her 40s, Helen was an avid bowler. She and her teammates won many trophies and championships while traveling across the country in tournaments. They traveled to Baltimore, Seattle, St. Louis, Miami, Toledo, Tucson, Niagara Falls, and many other destinations.
Helen loved the holidays and family get-togethers. She did not need a special occasion to start planning the next gathering. She was such a wonderful cook that everyone couldn’t wait to dig into her fabulous tasting food. Even friends have commented on remembering their favorite dish.
She was so much funâ€”always coming up with fun unique ideas, like making Pilgrim and Indian costumes for the family outdoor Thanksgiving Feast, or dressing up in some wild costume for all the kids on Halloween.
Helen’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the joy of her life. She would make sure she had each one’s “favorite” when they came to visit. She was so loving and giving that she was adopted by many of her grandchildren’s friends.
Helen: Such a beautiful and gentle soul. Always so full of life, positive and upbeat, even during her battle with multiple myeloma, she rarely complained. She would always say “complaining can’t fix anything.” The world has truly been a more beautiful place with Helen French.
She will be greatly missed by her daughter, Kay Lamuno and Mark Ivens; son, Allen French and Trish Price; daughter, Linda Varnadore; grandchildren, Scott and (wife) Olympia Lamuno, Kimberly Kay Lamuno, Brittney and (husband) Danius Jonika, Emily French, Chelsea and (husband) Tim Bridges, Ethan and (wife) Michaela French, and Tyler Ivens and Chandler Ivens; great-grandchildren, Eli, Andrew, and Rocco Lamuno, and Payton Bridges; and brothers, R.J. Freeman and his wife Mattie, Archie Freeman and his wife Otella Freeman, and Howard Freeman and his wife Frances.
Special thanks to caregivers Carol Laduke and Calvin Cunningham for the special care they gave to Helen. They became family.
The Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, Oct. 10, at Martin Oak Ridge Funeral Home. The receiving of friends is from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The funeral services will immediately follow.
Graveside services will be at Oak Ridge Memorial Park at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11.