Helen S. Vaala

Helen S. Vaala

AGE: 98 • Wilmington

Helen S. Vaala, 98 years young, of Wilmington, DE passed away March 14, 2014 at ManorCare Health Services. She was born in 1915 in Harrison, NY to August and Minnie Siegmann.

A lifelong advocate of the importance of education, Helen graduated from Harrison NY High School at age 16 and was awarded a scholarship to Randolph-Macon College where she received a Bachelor degree in French in 1936. During college she took on extra jobs to support her studies yet graduated with honors and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. After college, she worked for the Singer Corporation in New York City, before meeting and marrying Gordon T. Vaala and moving to Wilmington. For several years, she worked as a preschool teacher at Aldersgate Methodist Church which led her to a career as a teacher at the Pilot School of Wilmington. After retiring, she volunteered at the Lutheran Senior Towers, Ronald McDonald House of Wilmington and continued her love of travel.

An embodiment of the adage "you never stop learning," Helen enjoyed traveling the world, following and debating current events, and reading about anything and everything. She even wanted to be the first grandma in space! But she especially loved spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, with whom she also shared her great love of nature, animals and space exploration. Helen was famous for her apple pies and love of chocolate and kept her home well-supplied with both. She was a true patriot and life-long conservative. She will be fondly remembered and admired for her inquisitive mind, feistiness, and unwavering determination and love of life.

Helen is preceded in death by her husband, Gordon T. Vaala, and three siblings, Edward Siegmann, Eleanor (Siegmann) Wolf, and Robert Siegmann.

Her memory will be lovingly cherished by her four children, David G. Vaala, Allen R. Vaala (Susan), Joan Vaala Schneider (Thomas), and Wendy Vaala-Buckley (Charles), five grandchildren, Scott Schneider (Amy), Kara Wherry, Lindsey R. Vaala, Sarah E. Vaala (Karl Richardson), and David A. Vaala, and four great-grandchildren, Aiden Wherry, Tess Wherry, Ethan Schneider, and Owen Schneider, as well as numerous nieces and nephews and good friends. She was an inspiration to all who knew her.

Calling hours are from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Chandler Funeral Home, 2506 Concord Pike on Thursday, March 20. A celebration of Helen's life will be held at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, 1301 N. Broom St. on Friday, March 21 at 11:00 am. A private burial will follow.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Stephen's Lutheran Church, 1301 N. Broom St., Wilmington, DE 19806, the Wounded Warriors Project at http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/, or the Delaware Humane Society at http://www.dehumane.org/.

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Funeral Home

Chandler Funeral Homes and Crematorium
2506 Concord Pike Wilmington, DE 19803-9925
(302) 478-7100

Published in The News Journal from Mar. 18 to Mar. 20, 2014