Helen's Story

EASTPORT - Helen M. (Seeley) Gardner Mitchell passed away on August 2, 2015, at Eastern Maine Medical Center surrounded by her family after a brief illness. She was born in Machias on April 3, 1949, to Charles "Charlie" Seeley and Clara (Campbell) Seeley.

Helen attended schools in Lubec and Pembroke. In April of 1967, she married the love of her life, Frank Gardner. After Frank returned from Vietnam, they spent some time in Connecticut but soon realized they wanted to be back home. They settled in Edmunds to raise their family of three boys. Their lives were changed forever on May 26, 1975, when Frank was tragically taken in a train-truck collision just a few hundred feet from their home.

No matter how tough it was, life was able to go on for this young mother of three and in 1978, she was married to Darald Mitchell and together they had their daughter, Michelle, completing her family.

Throughout her life, Helen was a fun loving person with an infectious laugh. Through her many health issues she was a fighter and remained so even in her final days. Helen liked to write poetry and was pretty good at the scrabble board. She loved her kids, grandkids and her many pets over the years. Her mother-in-law once said she made the best homemade bread and her family would agree.

In her passing, Helen leaves behind a loving family and a vast and varied group of friends that has spanned all ages and generations both young and old. From the lifelong friends dating back to the early days in Lubec, to her newest friends at her last home in Eastport Helen never cared "who you were to others", but simply "how you were to others". If you were a friend to her, than she was a friend to you. Many of her special friends she kept as close as family.

She was preceded by her parents and husband, Frank, with whom she will be buried, which had been her wish ever since that fateful day in 1975. Also as fate would have it, the date of Helen's death was also Frank's birthday.

She is survived by her three sons, Frank Jr. and wife, Tracy of Edmunds, Joseph and wife, Rhonnie of Cathance Lake and Christopher and wife, Amanda of Edmunds; and one daughter, Michelle and husband, Terry Turcotte of Pembroke. She is also survived by her brother, Stephen and wife, Sonia of Charlotte; and her sister, Sharon Santillo of New Hampshire. She also leaves behind very special nieces and nephews and was known by some of them simply as Auntie Face. She also loved her many cousins from her large family and cherished her extended group of in-laws that forever kept her as family over the many years.

But perhaps most importantly, as "Grammy Helen", she leaves behind seven grandchildren, Delaney, Clara, Gavin, Madelyn, Hayden, Emmitt and Reagan. Everyone that knew Helen knows that she loved kids and these seven were always her greatest pride and joy.

A graveside service will be held Sunday, August 9, 2015, at 1:00pm at the Whiting Village Cemetery with a gathering at Chris and Amanda's residence in Edmunds following. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to Paws Humane Society in Calais.
Published in Bangor Daily News
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