January 28, 2011
Helen was born in Big Hollow on October 31, 1918, the daughter of Elmer and Clara Scott West. She was very active in voluteer work throughout her life. She was a volunteer substitute teacher and president of the PTA at the rural Leeds school. She served as mentor and reading buddy to students at both the Catskill Middle School and High School. Helen volunteered for 6 years at the Coxsackie Correctional Institute tutoring inmates with speech and hearing problems and assisting with the GED program. She did volunteer research at the Vedder Memorial Library at the Bronck Museum. For 16 years she delivered Meals-On-Wheels to the homebound. She taught Sunday School at the Leeds Reformed Church along with serving on Consistery and being the organist. She worked tirelessly with the Women's Group of the church at their many fundraising endeavors. She even opened up her home for Sunday services during the coldest months of the year. She was a member of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, and through their recommendation, she was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award in 2008 for the exemplary service to her community. She was very proud of being on the Advisory Board of the Department of Aging. She also used her status as lay minister to conduct services at the local nursing homes. This year she was honored for her 25 years in the Leeds Hose Co.'s Auxiliary, where she also served as Chaplain. She was also a member of the Greene Co. Firemen's Auxiliary. On of her proudest moments was receiving an official award from Governor George Pataki at an impressive ceremony at the State Capital in 2005 for being a caring, dedicated individual who gave so much of herself and her time for the betterment of the community.
Helen loved to bowl and was still bowling in a league last month. She traveled extensively throughout the world with her best friend, the late Ruth V. Schmidt and the two of them had some great times together as members of the Rock and Mineral Club at the NYS Museum in Albany.
Helen was predeceased by her husband Burton in 1980, son-in-law Floyd Roney, brother Elmer West, and two sisters: Betty Orrdrek and Lois Lennon. She is survived by her son Burton Eckler, Jr. (and his wife Joyce) of San Jose, CA and three daughters: Linda Van Vechten (and husband Bill) of South Cairo, Helen Howard (and husband Richard) of Philmont and Clara Roney currently residing at The Pines in Catskill. She is grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of eleven. She is also survived by her devoted neighborhood friend, Margaret Rogers Bower.
Private interment will be conducted in the former Catskill Rural Cemetery under the direction of the Millspaugh Camerato Funeral Home at 139 Jefferson Heights in Catskill. There will be no formal services at this time, the family will gather this Spring in remembrance at their convenience. Electronic condolences may be posted at www.millspaughcamerato.com
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