By the grace of God, Helen B. Mackey was received into heaven Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018.
Helen was born July 21, 1925, and was joined in Christian marriage to William (Bill) Mackey Aug. 20, 1949. They were able to enjoy 65 years of blessings in holy matrimony. Helen earned a bachelor’s degree from Saint Xavier College in Chicago and then worked as a graduate certified bacteriologist. Once Bill and Helen started a family, she was a stay-at-home mom, raising nine children. As the children grew, she taught third grade at St. Denis Catholic School in Chicago. After moving to La Crosse in 1968, she worked for many years at the Plantique in downtown La Crosse, where she could indulge in her love of plants and antiques. Helen and Bill enjoyed traveling, especially to visit their children, grandchildren, and extended family. They were among the first UW-L faculty to serve abroad in Scotland and also went on several cruises with family. Helen also traveled by herself to Russia, just before the 1980 Summer Olympics and when she was 89, traveled with family to France, for her granddaughter, Rachel’s wedding to Julian. She deeply loved her family and enjoyed the many family gatherings.
Helen had a lifelong love of reading which she passed on to her children. She belonged to a book club for many decades. She had a love of animals, especially the four-legged kind and enjoyed watching birds on the bird feeder outside her window. In more recent years, Helen enjoyed sitting out on the porch when the weather was nice, where she could enjoy the birds, flowers, sunshine and read a good book or work on a crossword puzzle. In her free time, Helen made beautiful braided wool rugs and also volunteered for several organizations, including the Campus Dames and Birthright.
Helen had many dear friends. She had a peaceful disposition and rarely complained. She will be dearly missed by her family and many friends. Because Helen’s mom died the day after she was born, she spoke of looking forward to the day she could see her birth mom in heaven.
Helen is survived by her brother, Matthew Bingham of Verona, Wis.; and her children, Bill and Sue Mackey of Lake Geneva, Wis., Markie Pendleton and Craig Brandfass of Madison, Wis., Tim and Anne Mackey of Madison, Cathy and Rusty Batcher of Naples, Fla., Beth Mackey and Craig Bolles of Madison, Jenny and Jeff Kohner of Hartland, Wis., Greg Mackey of La Crosse, Terry and Lori Mackey of Alexandria, Va., and Jim and Julie Mackey of Alexandria; 18 grandchildren, Jenna (Jim), Leslye (Rick), Becky (Jesse), David (Jorden), Sarah (Tim), Faith (Andrew), Tom (Stephanie), Matt, Race (Dee), Tray (Danielle), Kevin, Phil, Rachel (Juilen), Ben, Amber, Tess, Allie, and Lara; 16 great-grandchildren, Jesse, Shelby, Shawn, TJ, Chris, Joshua, Emma, Peter, Timmy, Scarlette, Violette, Logan, Ebbie, Dru, Jeremiah, Makayla; and many dear friends.
Helen was preceded in death by her husband, William (Bill) Mackey; her birth parents, Harold and Helen (Thometz) Kennedy; and adoptive parents, Hood and Clara (Thometz) Bingham; her brother, William Bingham; and a grandson, Peter Mackey.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 130 Losey Blvd. S., La Crosse, with the Rev. Peter Raj officiating. A visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the time of the service at the church. A private family interment will be held on a later date at Rock Island National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Coulee Region Humane Society, PETA, or a charity of donor’s choosing.
Schumacher-Kish Funeral and Cremation Services of La Crosse is assisting the family. Online condolences may be sent to www.schumacher-kish.com.