Helen M. McLeod
Helen Margaret McLeod (Goudie) passed peacefully at age 85, July 7th, 2020 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, WA after complications from back surgery.
Helen was born Dec. 15th 1934 to Arthur and Ida Goudie on the family homestead in Fife Lake Saskatchewan, Canada. She and her sister Mary and brothers Don, Roy and Jack grew up in Cloverdale BC, Canada. Helen left home after high school to attend nursing school at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC and graduated class of 1956. She married John G. McLeod in 1959 in Portland, OR. She put her nursing career on hold to raise daughters Susan and Fern, living in Seattle, Ephrata WA, and Springfield, VA settling in Portland OR in 1968. Helen returned to her nursing career after her daughters started school, working at Barker Manufacturing then at Bonneville Power Administration before retiring in 1989. Helen and John then moved to Bellingham, WA in 2001 to be closer to Helen’s mother and siblings across the Canadian boarder.
From growing up on a farm in the 30’s and 40’s , she learned self sufficiency and frugality, which she carried throughout her life. Helen was an excellent seamstress, making clothes for both her children and herself; a gardener, growing vegetables and putting up produce for the winter; an avid cook, seeking out healthy food for her husband and growing daughters. She proudly expressed these values with a bumper sticker, “USE IT UP, WEAR IT OUT, MAKE DO, OR DO WITHOUT!”
Helen was most happy hiking throughout the Pacific Northwest. For many years she made time to hike two times a week. In Portland she hiked with and led hikes for the community school, later joining the Mazamas, a hiking club. She didn’t want winter to slow her down so she took up cross country skiing. In Bellingham she continued outdoor adventures with two hiking groups and a walking group, enriching her life with good friends, fresh air and love of nature.
Helen’s appreciation of nature and love of her fellow humans, led her to activism beginning with her involvement in the anti-nuclear campaign of the 70’s-80’s. Her life was lived giving gifts of time and money. Some of her many passions included volunteering at the food bank farm, making sandwiches for the homeless and combining social action with fun as an early member of the Raging Grannies, singing songs with catchy lyrics encouraging listeners of many marches and events to think about social justice. She took her civic duty seriously and encouraged her friends and family to always vote.
Helen found her spiritual home with the United Church of Christ. She was an active member of the Parkrose Community Church in Portland and later The First Congregational Church of Bellingham. Finding where she was needed, Helen volunteered for committees and was a Sunday regular giving her joyful voice to many hymns. She was very comfortable with the progressive social outreach sponsored by the church, the latest program Helen was involved with created a space in the church for a day shelter for youth facing homelessness.
Helen was always expanding her world and enjoyed many remarkable trips to Egypt, Russia, Costa Rica, Ireland and several visits back to Canada to visit her dear family. She also enjoyed many camping trips with friends and family.
Helen lived with zest and continued to learn, and to seek out new adventures. As she aged, she found new ways to travel such as a river boat trip up the Danube instead of a hiking trip in China. She also found new ways to give to her community by volunteering at the senior center instead of the food bank farm. She stayed active playing ping pong and doing yoga instead of hiking, and found fellowship in new places like Friday knitting with friends at the church and joining “The Crones” when she was unable to keep up with her walking groups.
Helen loved her family and her community of circles upon circles of friends. She was an inspirational role model for living ones values. Helen will be missed by all.
She is survived by her sister Mary (Bob) Gilholm and brothers Don Goudie and Jack (Judy) Goudie, and daughters Susan McLeod and Fern McLeod (Penny Rice), nieces and nephews Betty, Karen (Ken), Chris (Kira), Nancy, Dale (Linda) and David, brother-in-law Duncan McLeod and nephews Jerry (Jackie) McLeod and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, great nieces and nephews as well as many other loving family members and friends.
She is proceed in death by her loving husband John, mother Ida, father Arthur, brother Roy, sister-in-laws Elaine and Leona, brother-in-law Alex and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Suggestions for contributions in Helen’s memory would include Day Shelter for homeless teens thru First Community Christian Church of Bellingham or any environmental causes.
We will not be holding a memorial during these restricted COVID times. Please gather with friends in smaller groups to celebrate her life.
The following was written by Helen in her “My Five Wishes” document;
“I would like to be remembered as a caring, kind, and accepting person who enjoyed and appreciated nature.”
“My philosophy is do no harm, help fellow man, and have a little fun.”
“My favorite hymn is “This is My Father’s World”.”
The family wishes to thank all of Helen’s many friends (too numerous to mention by name) who showed up to help, sent cards, emails and voicemails which Helen appreciated and enjoyed.
A special thanks to Helen’s sister Mary and husband Bob who were especially supportive during her hospitalization.