Elizabeth "Libby" Hellmann Sheeran died peacefully on February 7 at the age of 93, her last waking moments spent surrounded by family in Fairfax, Virginia, where she was visiting. Born in Louisville, Ky, on January 3, 1920, she was the ninth of Michael and Lula Hellmann's ten children. Her large, close-knit, deeply Catholic family shaped the long life she spent caring for others and worshiping God. Libby wanted to be a nurse from the age of seven, just like her big sister whom she helped give tetanus shots to survivors of the 1937 Ohio River flood. She married Dan, the son of one of her patients, in 1943 and they moved together to Miami, their home for the rest of their lives. There Libby attended iron lung patients, assisted in the operating room at Variety Children's Hospital, and raised her four dark-haired daughters with Dan in Church of the Little Flower's parish, her congregation for over 60 years. Their oldest, Julia Morris, predeceased her in 1995. Dan followed in 1996, just before their 53rd wedding anniversary. She is survived by daughters Marita, Margaret and Kathy, sons in law Michael and Tom, goddaughter Elizabeth Ann, seven grandchildren, three grandchildren in law and three great-grandchildren, with another expected in April. They, and everyone lucky enough to be cared for by Libby, remember being soothed by her strong hands and her murmured daily prayers. Her strength of spirit, devotion to others and incredible work ethic will live on in our memories of being loved. Libby's family is extremely grateful to Dr. Leonard Kalman for many years of caring for her body and to Fr. Sean O'Sullivan for his grand Irish care of her soul. A Memorial Mass will be held at Church of the Little Flower at 1p.m. on February 23. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Vincent de Paul Society or Miami Children's Hospital Foundation.
Published in Miami Herald on Feb. 17, 2013