Passed away peacefully on June 1, 2014, after a three-year battle with lung cancer. She is survived by her loving family: husband John, son and daughter Glen and Janet, her brother Alan and his wife Deborah, and her grandchildren David and Gillian. Mary Helen was born in Welland and brought up in Arvida. She lived and worked in England for several years before returning to Canada, where she worked for many years for Greening Donald in Hamilton. She later became an artisan working in stained glass, and was also a realtor. In retirement she was an avid gardener, whose lovely flower gardens were often commented on and gave pleasure to many people. She was an amateur genealogist who contributed much to the Niagara branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society.  Cremation has taken place. An informal gathering of family and friends to remember her will be held at her home on Sunday, June 8, from 1-4pm. If desired, contributions to the Juravinski Cancer Centre would be appreciated by the family.

9 replies
  1. Sheldon Bowles
    Sheldon Bowles says:

    Like James Arnett, my grandfather, Thomas Lewis Arnett, was a brother of Helen’s grandmother, Margaret Arnett McLeod. I was first contacted by Helen some years ago and from time to time, often with six, eight month lags, we carried on a delightful email exchange about life (we both were given cancer diagnosis about the same time) family (we both had Arnett blood in our veins, and the weather (with her in Hamilton and me in Winnipeg neither of us had much to brag about weather-wise.)

    She was a delightful email companion and amazingly knowledgeable on all family matters. I am sorry to hear that she has died. I will miss our occasional, but intense, email exchanges.

    I have left an email address with this site, my name at hotmail, and I hope if any of her family see this that they will be in touch.

    All Woods, and especially Helen, will be at the top of my prayer list tonight.

    • AlanAdams
      AlanAdams says:

      I am Alan Adams, son of Frances Marion McLeod, sister of Alan McLeod and Helen McLeod, brother of Mary Helen, I would be delighted to correspond with you concerning family history

  2. James Arnett
    James Arnett says:

    I am her 2nd cousin. Her grandmother, the Manitoba historian Margaret Arnett Macleod, was a sister of my grandfather, J. H. Arnett. Helen and I met over the internet somehow in later years and corresponded about the Arnett family, about which she was very interested. I am very sorry to hear she has passed away.

  3. Nora Dyer
    Nora Dyer says:

    I am one of Mary Helen’s 10 first cousins. I moved to B.C. from Ontario in 1969 so never knew her as an adult. I do remember some good times being together when we were young and growing up. My husband Len and I are sorry to hear of her passing and are keeping Mary Helen and the family in prayer and will continue to do so especially tomorrow as you gather to honour and celebrate her life.

  4. Carolyn MacKenzie
    Carolyn MacKenzie says:

    We are sorry for to hear that Helen lost her battle with cancer, she did over the years fight very hard to beat this.
    Over the years Helen and I spent many an hour corresponding back and forth with information about her family and mine as well as sharing many a morning laugh with some of the most hilarious jokes out there.
    I will miss our almost daily correspondence and her courageous love of life. She was an inspiration of all of us who knew her.

  5. Alan A. M. Adams
    Alan A. M. Adams says:

    Mary Helen leaves behind two great kids and her husband; at least we have them to help us remember her.

    She always had a sign outside her house, only visible to stray cats, some stayed with her, others she found good homes for.

    Pictures of Mary Helen are few and far between; she was legendary in her desire even in her younger years not to have her picture taken, sometimes leading to some rather amusing results.

    She was the first to leave the nest as a teenager and certainly helped pave the way for me to make my way in life, I owe my being in Hamilton to her. We had many good times together and she did good things for me that I never really appreciated.

    Her gardening skills were famous, even my garden has plants that were “born” in her garden before moving to mine.

    I will miss you MH.

  6. Anna Van Dijk
    Anna Van Dijk says:

    Helen Scarth was my friend and faithful supporter!

    We met in a unique way about 10 years ago, when a mutual computer tech (Brian) recommended her as a treadle sewing machine expert and collector especially of Singer machines! And when I emailed and later met her, she was so generous with her knowledge of the machines’ technology, and her time and talent for repairing and even refinishing some of the cabinets, that we were able to send several machines in mint condition to Sierra Leone, at the time the poorest country in the world after a devastating civil war! We kept collecting machines, and she willingly kept repairing them. even supplying us with many spare parts so the recipient tailors would be able to maintain or repair their own machines! There is no Singer Sewing Centre there! This continued till about 2 years ago, when we sent our most recent container, and we got out of touch for a while, though I often thought of her…

    But until the day I visited her in the last month or so (after losing her email) and saw her on a good day at her computer, where she so warmly welcomed me as a long lost friend, and she was still willing to help me work on a quilt for my granddaughter, even though she could barely walk and I wondered how she could get up to the third floor, I had no idea she was so ill. Her attitude of hope, her willingness to help under any circumstances and her friendship on a personal level are memories I will always cherish. I am very thankful to God for knowing Mary Helen Wood, even though I knew very little about her past, her other talents, and her family other than John, and not even her real name! I will certainly never forget her!

  7. Brenda Bunkham
    Brenda Bunkham says:

    Mary Helen and I exchanged countless letters and emails whilst researching our family history. Living on the Isle of Wight in England, I never met her personally but I believe we became firm friends over the years. I feel so sad that she lost her battle with cancer and my heart goes out to her family. She was always so cheerful and friendly and I felt I had known her all my life.

    We were cousins and I never did work out exactly how many times removed. I shall make a point of doing that now.

  8. Deborah Adams
    Deborah Adams says:

    Mary Helen was a great artist in glassware, quilting and stained glass.

    When she first started quilting she was getting frustrated with her rotary blades always becoming dull. I showed her my rotary cutting mat. She bought one and the rest of her quilting is history, By helping her, I hope that her quilts will be her living legacy.

    Mary Helen was always busy; if she didn’t have too much work to do she would make herself busy!

    Her devotion to her study of family history was legendary; she travelled all over Ontario looking up relatives from the past. Lets hope she is now meeting up with all those relatives and bringing them up to date!

    Although Mary Helen is no longer with us, she will never be forgotten.


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