Helen Joan Robertson Dunlap, formerly of Niles, Michigan, mother, grandmother, sister, teacher, homemaker, and community supporter died peacefully at 5:55 p.m. on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Helen passed with family gathered around her bedside at the Dujarie House in Notre Dame, Indiana following an extended illness, just days short of her ninetieth birthday. Her family is grateful for the kind and compassionate care provided by the staff of Dujarie and the Center for Hospice Care.
She was born on May 26, 1931 in Massillon, Ohio to Wilbur and Mildred (Myers) Robertson, and was graduated with the class of 1949 of Washington High School in Massillon. She continued her education at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio earning a bachelor’s degree in 1953 in education with a minor in home economics. At Ohio Wesleyan, she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega social sorority and the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society in Education. She taught the primary grades at schools in Defiance, Sherwood, Massillon, and Euclid, all in Ohio before retiring and moving to Niles.
In Niles, Helen was a member of the former Wesley United Methodist Church (now New Journey United Methodist Church) and the Wednesday Book Club. She was a life member and past president of the Niles Garden Club and the Ladies’ Historical Society. Having a natural attribute for hospitality – supplemented by the Home Ec degree – she was the consummate hostess for club meetings and her family, decorating, cooking, baking, and serving. Her special touch to standard kitchen fare such as lasagna and zucchini bread made those dishes memorable and requested. She also enjoyed keeping a second, summer home for her family on Birch Lake in Vandalia, Michigan.
On May 20, 1954 in Massillon she married Ralph E. Dunlap with whom she celebrated the forty-seventh anniversary of their wedding prior to his death on July 30, 2001. She was also preceded in death by her parents, and by her sister-in-law, Janet (Mrs. William) Robertson.
Surviving family includes her sons, Jeff (& Shawn) Dunlap of Niles and Brad (& Ellen) Dunlap of South Bend, Indiana; grandchildren Jennifer (& Ryan) Snyder, Matthew Dunlap, Katie (& Matthew) McCain, Thomas Dunlap, Justin (& Alexis) Stroud, and Sierra Stroud; great-grandchildren Zachary Snyder, Bailee McCain, Myles McCain, and Beckham McCain; Helen’s brother, William Robertson of Lexington, Kentucky; and many nieces and nephews.
The funeral service for Helen Dunlap will be at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at the New Journey United Methodist Church, 302 Cedar Street in Niles with the Rev. Robert L. Snodgrass II of the church officiating. Committal will follow at Mission Hills. The most recent masking, social distancing, and attendance limits will be practiced. Others may witness the service via the livestreamed broadcast on the Halbritter-Wickens Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/halbritterwickensfuneralservices/.
The family will receive relatives and friends on Monday from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles. Contributions in memory of Helen may be made to New Journey United Methodist Church, 302 Cedar Street, Niles, Michigan, 49120, https://newjourneyumc.org/; or to Fernwood Botanical Garden, 13988 Range Line Road, Niles, Michigan, 49120, https://www.fernwoodbotanical.org/. Online condolences may be left at:
Helen’s great love of life was clearly due to her love of the people around her. She remained a loyal “Massillon Tiger” in honor of her high school days; was always proud of OWU and her activities there; and a hostess is defined – in part – by the invited guests. Her greatest love was reserved for her family; all fulfilling our scriptural direction to love God and love people.
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