|Helen Marie Hughs Smeltzer
Published in The Benzie County Record Patriot on Aug. 23, 2017
Helen Marie Hughs Smeltzer
BENZONIA-Helen H. Smeltzer died at the Homesteader Assisted Living Facility in Benzonia,
on August 15, 2017. She had previously been a resident of Frankfort and Blaine Township.
Visitation and scripture service at St. Ann Church, Frankfort, from 4-7 p.m., on Thursday,
August 24, 2017. Funeral at St. Ann Church, at 11 a.m., on Friday, August 25, 2017. Visitation
one hour prior to the funeral.
Helen H. Smeltzer was born Helen Marie Hughes on July 28, 1921, in Washington, D.C., to
Roy Ellis and Rose Elizabeth (nÃ©e McDonald) Hughes. She was the elder sister of two
brothers, and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1939. She then attended
Indiana University, where she met her first husband, ROTC member, Charles I. Littell. They
married on August 2, 1941, and had the first wedding reception ever held at the "new" Indiana
University Memorial Union. Their daughter, Mary, was born in April 1943, so Helen suspended
her college studies. Sadly, U.S. Army Captain Charles I. Littell was killed shortly after D-Day
on a Normandy Beach, while defending our freedom in WWII.
Helen and Mary then lived with Helen's parents and one of her younger brothers. She worked
a variety of jobs, and continued her college courses at George Washington University,
receiving an A.B. in Spanish from Indiana University, in 1947. Shortly after that, she, her
daughter, her parents, and brother moved to Vienna, Austria for one and a half years while her
father, a colonel and lawyer with the U.S. Army, worked on the reconstruction following WWII.
Helen and Charles' cousin, RenÃ©e, had become close friends. RenÃ©e was married to
Percy J. Smeltzer, an Army captain who had completed his service years. They lived in
northern Michigan and had two daughters, Lucille and Mary Pat. Unfortunately, RenÃ©e died
in 1950. Family members lovingly encouraged Helen and Percy to become better acquainted.
Consequently, they married on March 28, 1951.
Helen moved to Frankfort, Michigan on a cold April day. She learned to drive on snowy roads
and bravely became a mother to three young daughters. She took on the incredible challenge
of creating a cohesive blended family that went on to include four more children: Ann, Ronald,
and twins, Susan and Donald.
Helen was a charter member of the Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, the Periwinkle
Garden Club, and Chapter EY of the PEO. She was also a member of the Frankfort Study
Club and the Michigan Shores Cooperative board of directors. She served on the book
selection committee of the Benzie Shores District Library for several years. She was a
member of AOÏ€ Sorority and the DAR. She was active with all St. Ann Church activities
including the Women's Guild.
She is survived by her children: Lucille (Michel) Legault, Cantley, QC; Mary Patricia
Thompson, Coombs, BC; Ann (William) Henning, Frankfort, MI; Ronald (Jane) Smeltzer,
Ventura County, CA; Susan (James) Riley, Kingsley, MI; and Donald (Kristin) Smeltzer,
Frankfort, MI. Additional survivors include her brother, Roy E. (Joyce) Hughes; sister-in-law, B.
Ann Hughes; 23 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Helen was preceded in death by the following: her parents; her husbands, Charles I. Littell and
Percy J. Smeltzer; her brother, Charles Hughes; her daughter, Mary Helen Jarrett; and an
Those desiring may make contributions to St Ann Church or the Benzie Shores District
Library. Arrangements are by Jowett Family Funeral Homes & Cremation Service.
Jowett Family Funeral Home - Benzonia Chapel
7223 South Street
Benzonia, MI 49616