Obituary for Helen Congdon (Taft)
Mrs. Helen A. (Taft) Congdon passed away peacefully in the St. Camillus Health Care Center on March 22, 2017. Helen was born in Mendon on December 31, 1920, the 7th child of Clarence and Mary (Benner) Taft. She attended Mendon schools and, with the exception of the first few years of marriage to Robert P. Congdon, was a lifelong resident of Mendon. In her younger years, Helen worked at the former Lowell’s Dairy, where she met “Bob” while scooping ice cream, and also worked at the family owned and operated Taft Orchard.
Upon their return to Mendon, Helen devoted herself to being a homemaker and caring for her family. When 2nd daughter, Marjorie, was born with cerebral palsy, Helen cared for her at home until her passing at age 59 in 2008. Helen’s hands were never idle: tending expansive vegetable and flower gardens; cultivating fruit trees, berry bushes or plants; keeping bees and processing honey; quilting, braiding rugs, knitting or crocheting. Helen shared her talents with all whether it was providing for her family, supporting her church’s annual Strawberry Festival and Christmas Fair, or passing on her knowledge to anyone who expressed interest. For decades, she could be found serving at church festivals, fairs and suppers. She was a member of several associations and organizations including the Worcester County Beekeepers, Mendon Garden Club, Mendon Unitarian Evening Alliance, Ladies’ Craft Club and Mendon Senior Center. She was a member of the Taft Family Association and had a keen interest in and recall of family genealogy, keeping in touch with relatives and cousins even until these last few weeks. She enjoyed watching the many birds and other forms of wildlife that visited her Birch Alley Farm and knew (and would share) details about each one. She was an avid (and competitive) cribbage player who looked forward to her daily games with great-nephew, Doug, and with anyone else who was willing to challenge her.
Helen leaves behind her daughter, Priscilla Koopman of Northbridge; 3 grandchildren: Dawn Lefrancois and her husband David of Uxbridge, Shelby Taylor and her husband Kevin of Parkman, ME, and Jeff Koopman and his wife Rachel of Northbridge; 7 great-grandchildren: Deanna, Daniel, Sarah, Anika, Ted, Carleigh and Isla; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband, Robert, and daughter, Marjorie, she is predeceased by 2 sisters (Emma Barrows and Mildred Goss) and 4 brothers (Jesse, Robert, Austin and Daniel).
A calling hour will be held at 10:00 on Saturday, March 25, 2017 at the Mendon Unitarian Church, followed by a memorial and celebration of life service at 11:00. Helen will then be laid to rest beside her husband and daughter at the SwanDale Cemetery in Mendon. At Helen’s request, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Mendon Unitarian Church, 13 Maple Street, Mendon, MA 01756; to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; or to a charity of one’s choice.