Helena “Lena” Southway of Fraser and formerly of Harper Woods, passed away peacefully on
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February 15, 2019. She was 95 years old.
Lena was born on January 23, 1924, in Utrecht, Netherlands. She was the daughter of late Hendrik and Johanna (Ockeloen) Bruggeman. Lena was the youngest of seven siblings. The entire family moved to the United States in 1927 settling in Detroit. A family business was established in the building trade. Her father was a professor at a trade school in Utrecht teaching the art of decorative plaster work. They worked on several theaters in downtown Detroit and many of the Grosse point homes. Later her father moved to Harper Woods where he raised prize show chickens. Her five brothers and one sister followed their father and built their homes in Harper Woods where they were all within walking distance from each other.
Lena went to Eastern High School receiving her high school diploma. She was the only sibling to receive a diploma because her brothers worked in the family business. She married James “Jim” Southway Sr. on September 2, 1944. While her husband was serving in the Navy during the Second World War, Lena played a vital role on the home front working as a "Rosie the Riveter" at Willow Run. The couple had four children, John (Shirley), James (Mary), Kenneth (Angela), Katherine (Steven) Griebe along with eight grandchildren and fifteen great grand children.
Lena worked for the Harper Woods school system for many years retiring at age 85. She was a “Lunch Lady” and watched over many of the children who attended Tyrone and Beacon school. For her long dedication to the schools she was given a gold whistle which is still one of her most treasured possessions.
Every where Lena went she would make friends. She often took care of her elderly friends, bring them a home cooked meal, driving them to have a dinner at a restaurant or just sitting with them to keep them company. Later when she moved to an assisted living facility she would make daily rounds visiting residents to bring them a newspaper or a book from the library. Everyone knew and loved Lena.
Lena will be truly missed by her family and friends who truly loved her.
Visitation will be held on Friday, February 22, 2019 from 2-8pm at the Faulmann & Walsh Golden Rule Funeral Home, 32814 Utica Road, Fraser, Michigan 48026. A funeral will be held on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 11am at the funeral home, with additional visitation beginning at 10am. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be addressed to Ronald McDonald House of Southeastern Michigan Inc., 4707 St. Antoine Ste 200, Detroit, MI.
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