Helen A. Richardson

March 19, 2024

1922 - 2024

After one hundred and one years of a life well and fully lived, Helen A. Richardson of Orleans died peacefully March 13, 2024.

Born in East Boston on the first day of Summer in nineteen twenty two she was the daughter of the late Ernest and Helen Andrews. She grew up with her sisters and brothers exploring and delighting in Boston harbor and its islands aboard her father’s boat. So began a lifelong love of the ocean and the adventures it could provide.

Having graduated High School at sixteen, she attended secretarial school in Boston which led to her first job as a secretary at a Boston meat packing firm. There she became secretary to Raymond T. Wilber, whom she married on April Fool’s day of nineteen forty two. She always said the date was a coincidence, though there was speculation.

After the birth of her two sons and a subsequent move to Rumford, Rhode Island, Helen became the homemaker par excellence. Dinner was always an occasion, holiday feasts, (hundreds of Christmas cookies later) and birthday parties were always memorable.

Once her sons were in school all day and over the mild objections of her husband, Helen took a part time job at The Providence Journal. Money earned from that job was used to purchase all of the equipment needed for camping. Packed into a nineteen fifty five DeSoto she led her sons and a dog, there was always a dog, on trips from the Atlantic coast of Canada to the outer banks of North Carolina.

After the untimely death of her husband in nineteen sixty three, Helen transitioned to full time at the Journal, becoming secretary to the Executive Editor. While in that position, she noticed that due to the retirement of the food writer there were no recipes or food related articles in the paper. Drawing on her years as a fine cook, she submitted, on speculation, a few food related columns. The editor of what was then known as the Women’s section was duly impressed and not only accepted the columns but asked for more. This led ultimately to a twenty year career as the food editor of the paper. What began as a few columns became twice weekly sections of the paper which won her national recognition and awards. Helen went on many food related trips, including those where she was invited to be a judge at national cooking contests, the Pillsbury Bake-off among them.

At a cocktail party, Helen met John W. Richardson, a free spirited man whose interests and experiences matched her own. Helen retired from the Journal and married John in a beautiful ceremony on the lawn of their home in Jamestown. Together they divided their time between their homes in Jamestown and the Florida Keys, for several years making the southbound trek on their motor sailor with cats and dogs aboard.

Widowed again at the death of John, Helen, in her early eighties, fulfilled a lifelong dream of living on Cape Cod. She found what she always called “the perfect house” in Orleans. She planted and tended much admired gardens and became an active member of The Church of the Holy Spirit, volunteering her secretarial skills as a receptionist one day a week and organizing a prayer shawl knitting group.

Helen was a loving mother, a caring friend and an inspiration to many. She was happiest with her family around her, music playing and a cat in her lap.

She is survived and missed by her son David and his wife Nancy, whom she always considered not her daughter-in-law but the daughter she never had, of Chatham, her son Richard with whom she made her home, her sister Susan Shoffstall of Seattle and several nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to thank the management and staff at The Terraces in Orleans for their kindness, care and attention that made the last months of Helen’s life as comfortable as possible.

According to Helen’s wishes, there will be no formal services. Although she loved flowers, she thought that they belonged growing in a garden, not in a vase. In lieu of them, memorial contributions may be made to either The Potter League for Animals, 87 Oliphant Lane, Middletown, RI or to The Animal Rescue League of Boston, 3981 Main Street, Brewster, MA. For online condolences, please visit www.nickersonfunerals.com.

Farewell Mother. May you find peace, calm seas and a following wind.