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Helen E. Willie Marines Don't Whine World War II veteran PFC Helen E. Willie left her home in Murray to join comrades-in-arms and loved ones on the other side in the early morning hours of August 12th, 2010. Helen was born May 21, 1922 in New Diggings, Wisconsin. After growing up in a Catholic orphanage, Helen joined the U.S. Marine Corps, selflessly desiring to be part of something bigger. She served as a Gunnery Instructor at Camp LeJeune, NC, paving the way for other military women. Helen demonstrated finesse in any industrial kitchen, feeding hundreds of people at military functions and soup kitchens. She enjoyed painting and had an adventurous and mischievous spirit, which led her snow mobiling, fishing, and traveling. Helen was very social, and enjoyed her family and grandchildren, teaching them to be strong and independent. Because her military service was such a life-changing experience, her later years were primarily focused on providing assistance to women veterans and homeless veterans, which led to the formation of the non-profit organization Operation Stand Down in Utah. She was an advocate for the underdog, receiving many accolades for her work, such as being appointed Utah's coordinator for "Women in Military Servic-Memorial Foundation" (WIMSA). Helen was recognized by the Help Hospitalized Veterans organization as a Donor of the Year in 2008. She also received awards from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), such as Outstanding Services to Homeless Veterans Programs, Outstanding Services to Women Veterans, and the Bonnie Anderson Memorial Award. Helen was presented a Community Service Award and "The Home Town Builders Award" by the Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E.). She is survived by her children, grandchildren, and many friends who love her. A social gathering in honor of Helen will be held on Monday, August 16th from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, August 17th, 9 a.m. at St. John the Baptist, 300 East 11800 South, Draper. Inurnment will follow at Utah Veterans Memorial Park, 17111 South Camp Williams Rd., Bluffdale. Arrangements entrusted to Starks Funeral Parlor. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.starksfuneral.com

Published in Salt Lake Tribune on Aug. 15, 2010
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