Helen Van Aken, 90

Helen M. Van Aken, 90, of Bronson, died Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011, at Thurston Woods Village in Sturgis.

Helen was born December 28, 1920, in Sturgis to George E. and Lillian M. (Badder) Van Vorst.

After graduating from High School in Brighton, Ind., class of 1939, she married Walter Van Aken on July 13, 1940, in Sturgis. He preceded her in death Sept. 14, 1991.

Helen worked as a nurse’s aide at Community Health Center of Branch County in Coldwater, later working at Quality Springs in Burr Oak and LA Darling until a work injury in 1966 forced her to retire.

Helen was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church in Bronson, where she was active in the women’s group. She was a 4-H leader in Burr Oak for more than 40 years, teaching and sharing her skills in home economics and gardening. Along with being an excellent cook, she enjoyed sewing, embroidery and gardening.

Helen is survived by her son, James (Sharon) Van Aken, and daughter, Susie (Darrell) Miller, both of Bronson; grandchildren Deborah Myers, Jimmy Van Aken, Troy Van Aken, Jason Van Aken, Dawn Reaper, Tom Barnes, Tim Barnes, Karla Ball and Ryan Eaton; and six great-grandchildren.

Along with her husband, she was preceded in death by her daughter, Mary Jane Barnes, and brother, Ed Van Vorst.

Visitation will be held from 2-4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday at Dutcher-Kolcz Funeral Home in Bronson.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home, with Pastor Terry Siler of First Congregational Church officiating. Interment will follow at Bronson Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to First United Methodist Church or First Congregational Church in Bronson.

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