Helen J. Jagielo

September 28, 1936 ~ May 8, 2022 (age 85)


Helen J. Jagielo, of Merritt, died peacefully at her home on May 8, 2022 surrounded by her loving family. She was 85.

Helen was born on September 28, 1936, to Andrew G. and Marie L. (LeDuc) Hornak of Detroit, Michigan.  Helen graduated from Warren High School in 1954. For several years after graduation she was employed as a secretary at General Motors Headquarters in Detroit before meeting and eventually marrying the love of her life; Joseph Jagielo who (by chance meeting) lived just a few miles away in Warren.  The two were united in marriage on June 9, 1956, and although she always said Joe could trade her in for “two twenties” they maintained their love for each other for 66 years.

Helen was very active in the Merritt and Houghton Lake communities. For many years Helen and husband, Joseph, hosted a fish boil on their property which drew friends and family for miles around. It was an event everyone looked forward to and Helen took special joy in planning and making the event happen. She was a talented cook and enjoyed sharing those talents in the restaurant kitchen while owning Joe’s Pit Stop and cooking for the Merritt Golden Agers.

Helen worked as an accountant and secretary at General Motors, Sohn’s Supply and Halliday Sand and Gravel for many years. She touched many lives working as a classroom aide at Collins Elementary School. She loved working with children giving hours of time volunteering as a Cub Scout and Girl Scout leader, a cheer coach, 4-H leader, and was instrumental in the construction of the Merritt Horse Arena. As a founding member of the Merritt Area Fire Department Women’s Auxillary, she was active in hosting community events such as the strawberry social to assist in raising money for much needed firefighting equipment.

Helen loved to travel and go camping in their RV. One of the big adventures and highlights of her retirement years was an epic 2,000 mile journey via RV through the back highways and trails of Alaska. Many times during the summer months Helen would simply sit and relax in her RV parked at home because she enjoyed the feel of camping.

More than anything else Helen adored her family and the annual holiday gatherings at her home in Merritt.  Even to her very last year and with health declining, she insisted on shopping and filling elaborate Christmas stockings for every child, grandchild and great grandchild in attendance. The holidays and family gatherings brought her so much joy.

Helen was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis midway through life, but she never let that diagnosis define her or keep her down for long. She was determined to live her life to the fullest.

She is survived by her loving husband Joseph; three children Randy (Jeri) Jagielo, Lynne (Ken) Gellerman, Anne-Marie (James) Blevins; 5 grandchildren Robert (April) Findley, Amanda Dewey, Michael (Nicole) Dewey, Sarah-Anne (David Park) Dewey, and Joshua Jagielo; 5 great-grandchildren Gabe, Malayna, Colt, Emma, and James; in-laws Barbara (Ralph) Zynda, Janice Kwiatkowski and many special nieces and nephews along with special family members Nicole Sisson, Jeanne Magee, Bill & Natalie Thompson, and Barbara Willing. 

Cremation has taken place. An outdoor celebration of life at the family home in Merritt will be held later this year.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Missaukee County Commission on Aging or Hospice of Michigan.

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Missaukee County Commission on Aging
Lake City MI

Hospice of Michigan
932 North Mitchell Street, Cadillac MI 49601

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