Helen Lawrence Swenson died peacefully on October 20, after a brief illness.
Helen was born on August 24, 1927, in Norphlet, Arkansas to Lily and Miles Lawrence. The family moved to East Texas in the early 1930s where her father worked for Standard Oil.
She graduated from Kilgore High School, and at 17 enrolled in the Cadet Nurse Corps Program and graduated with her RN Degree from Dallas Methodist Hospital, a cooperative program with SMU. After graduation, she worked, as a nurse, for Dr. Glenn Stayer, an Oak Cliff pediatrician.
In 1946 she met Gus Swenson, an Oak Cliff native, and they married in Nacogdoches on October 1, 1949. After a honeymoon to Big Bend, Helen and Gus settled in Oak Cliff, and following a brief relocation to San Diego, returned to Oak Cliff and to the new Glen Oaks neighborhood to raise their family. She was a Charter Member of Glen Oaks Methodist Church.
Helen made the commitment to be a stay-at-home mom and to raise their two daughters. She was devoted to her family, friends, church, and country. She spent her life supporting the people and causes that she cared about most.
Helen had the gift of hospitality and enjoyed hosting family and friends, especially during the holidays with two of her favorites being the 4th of July and Christmas. She was well known for her cooking, always making her guests feel welcomed and special. Her “Velvet Cinnamon Rolls” won a Blue Ribbon at the State Fair of Texas in 1988. She also loved gardening and flowers. Her peonies blooming each Spring were show-stoppers.
She and Gus shared a love of antiques and vintage jewelry and started attending auctions in and around Dallas in the early 1970s. She was well known for her keen eye, sense of style, and her ability to create the right ambiance for each room in her home.
After Gus retired from Centex Construction Company in 1973, they opened and ran a health food store in North Dallas, which was the start of their life-long interest in nutrition and nutritional supplements.
In 1981, Helen and Gus bought and restored a home on Main Street in Waxahachie, which was named to the National Register of Historic Places. Their home was featured on the Gingerbread Trail in 1983. She was a faithful member of First UMC Waxahachie
She loved to travel in the US and Europe. Favorite destinations often included a beach, the ocean, and shelling. Trips to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Florida, Cayman, and South Padre Island brought her joy. She often said, “don’t ask me to go on a trip with you, unless you really want me to go, because I’m packing my suitcase tonight.”
She was the favorite grandmother, aunt, or friend, in attendance at athletic and sporting events, concerts, assemblies, dance recitals, birthday parties, commencements, weddings, and births.
She was quick with a laugh and often the first to ask about how you were doing or feeling and more interested in listening to you than in talking about herself. If she told you that she would pray for you, she did so faithfully and often. She loved serving others.
Preceding Helen in death were her infant sister, mother, father, husband, and stepfather. She is survived by Karen and Dave Smithson of Austin, Debbi and Joe Rust of Waxahachie, Lance, Sydney, Maci and Ava Rust of Waxahachie, Lane, Blake and Remi Rust of Cedar Park, Lauren, Alex, and Noah Ewings of Brooklyn, Clark, Kristen, and Jack Smithson of Seattle, and Cate Smithson of Seattle, nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.
Her family is grateful for the care, love, and support that Helen received from her extensive circle of friends, family, and caregivers.
She will be long remembered and greatly missed.
Celebration of Life will be held at First United Methodist Church Waxahachie, 505 West Marvin Waxahachie, Texas 75165 on Friday, October 25, 2019 at Eleven am.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials in Helen’s name to First United Methodist Church Waxahachie for the Children and Youth programs or to your favorite charity.