Helen Jean Brewer Warnock of Farmington Hills, Michigan, was born July 15, 1929, in Southport, Marion County, Indiana to Samuel Hawley and Helen Alma Brewer. Growing up, she spent many happy summers with her grandparents in Windfall, Indiana, which is where she acquired her lifelong love of animals, flowers and the outdoors.
Helen met Verlin Warnock when she was fourteen and he was a high school student at the school where her mother taught. They were married on December 21,1947, after his return from service in the United States Navy, during their sophomore year at Purdue University.
Helen graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics in 1950, but a career was delayed by the pending birth of Elaine. She was a stay-at-home mother until Elaine and Ginny, her second daughter, were in school. Nurturing them during their early years helped her decide her passion would be for teaching in the first and second grades and helping these little ones get a good start in their educations. After completing a Master of Science in Elementary Education from Butler University in 1963 Helen spent the next twenty years teaching first and second grade children. Helen was a gifted teacher who loved her work and found particular pleasure teaching children to read. When she taught under-privileged children in Fort Wayne, Indiana, she felt she had a purpose and was making a difference in the world. The children loved her, easily recognizing that her sweet smile, warmth and compassion for them was completely genuine.
Helen and Verlin lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana from 1953 to 1969. At a time when women did not routinely work outside the home, Helen balanced teaching with parenting her two daughters, Elaine and Ginny, and other responsibilities. She was a hard worker and taught her daughters the value of a good work ethic, personal responsibility, being motivated to achieve goals, and developing independence. There were several years in which Verlin worked full-time as an electrical engineer and farmed Helen's parents' farm part-time, while Helen taught during the week and then cooked, gardened, and did other needed work on the farm on the weekends.
Helen loved beauty and expressed herself in gardening, decorating her home and making her home warm and inviting for her family. She enjoyed planning meals, trying new recipes, and reading cookbooks. Her family and friends were the fortunate recipients of many delicious meals and handmade items. Over the years, she completed many projects, including doll clothes, Christmas stockings, ornaments, blankets, and knit scarves for her children, grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, as well as friends.
Her love language was serving others and she expressed her love for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren by baking their favorite foods and cookies and finding books, games, toys, and clothing that she thought each of them would like. During the time of year when mailboxes are loaded with catalogs, Helen would spend hours pouring through them looking for that special gift for each member of her family.
Helen and Verlin lived in New Jersey from 1969 to 1980. During that time, they purchased a summer home on Long Beach Island in Barnegat Light, New Jersey, which became both their summer residence in their retirement and the gathering place for their family for the last forty years. Like the many meals and gifts she made, Helen's love for and commitment to her family manifested itself in the many hours she spent planning for those visits and making the house a special place for her family to gather from all over the country.
Columbus, Ohio was Helen's home from 1980 to 2001. She retired from teaching to care for her aging parents, but continued to substitute teach and also volunteered at TWIG, an auxiliary group whose projects provided financial support to Nationwide Children's Hospital. Through TWIG, Helen and Verlin volunteered together for ten years at the Muirfield Memorial Golf Tournament.
Helen is survived by her husband of sixty-five years, Verlin; two daughters, Elaine (Greg) Major of Farmington Hills, Ml, and Ginny (Chuck) Quick of Tiburon, CA; five grandchildren, Benjamin (Kristen) Quick of Old Greenwich, CT, Caroline (Jason) Dombrowski of Upper Arlington, OH, Blake (Amanda) Major of Pflugerville, TX, Kyle Quick of Fairfax, CA and Matthew Quick of Washington, DC; step grandson, Peter Quick; great-grandchildren, Caleb and Eve Major, Noah, Lauren and Clara Dombrowski, and Kendall and Brielle Quick; and her sister-in-law, Roberta Warnock of Richland, Ml.
All who knew and loved her will miss her warmth and generosity.
Memorial Service, Saturday, September 14 th, 11 AM (family will receive friends from 10 AM until time of service) at Highland Park Baptist Church, 28600 Lahser Road, Southfield, MI 48034.
Memorial contributions to Hospice of Michigan, 400 Mack Ave., Detroit, MI 48201 or Care Net Pregnancy Center, 2826 Coolidge Hwy., Berkley, MI 48072.