Helen Turvey

An Incredible Life…

One of the most winning-est contestants at the annual Embro Fair (everyone loved her raspberry pies and her smocking) is now sewing, baking, canning, and mingling her way through heaven. Helen Ruth Turvey, hard core bargain shopper, happily obsessive list-maker, mint chocolate lover, mother of two (but ‘adopted’ mother to hundreds), fast and true friend to all, and a wonderful person who would always lift you up when you were down, passed away on May 24th, 2023, just three days into her 95th year.

Helen (born Helen Mitchell), spent her early years as a city girl in Brantford, Ontario. Her initial work experience was supporting the war effort where she worked as a secretary and inventory clerk at Cockshutt Plow Company which had been retooled during WWII. Unbeknownst to her, a handsome machinist inside the plant had become a secret admirer. This machinist, John Turvey, took the courageous step to ask her to the company Christmas dance and the rest is history. Their relationship blossomed. After they were married, they moved to the Turvey family farm outside of Embro, Ontario. The city girl was now in the country where she forged many new life-long relationships and learned many new–and exciting–skills.

The whole community valued from her eagerness to get involved and make a difference. She was a 4H leader, teacher, and motivator, who took incredible joy in watching young people grow during her years of weekly 4H sessions in her farmhouse sewing room. She was known for her organizing skills and was called upon hundreds of times for church suppers where she would be up to her elbows mashing big pots of potatoes and stirring tubs of gravy. She was made a lifetime member of the Women’s Institute because of her many years of service and valued contributions. In her later years, organizations like the London Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House benefited from the hundreds of quilts she made for children suffering from extreme medical issues.

Helen is now reunited with her loving husband and favourite ‘Sunday drive in the country’ tour guide, John Turvey, who passed away in 2007. She is predeceased by her seven siblings and survived by her daughters Jessica (Neil Dempster) Turvey, and Karen Turvey.

Helen made a huge difference in so many lives because of how much she cared. And, although she is not with us anymore, we know she would want to be remembered for a principle she lived by, and a principle she helped many other people embrace, “Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.

At the specific request of Helen, a small and private ceremony with only the immediate family is planned. Helen will be laid to rest beside John at the Embro Cemetery.

In Helen’s memory, donations may be made to the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy at www.ofcp.ca/donate/.

Arrangements entrusted with Cremation London & Middlesex, 519-858-2467. Please provide your warm thoughts and memories about Helen in the space below so they can be shared with her family.

  1. Your beautiful Mother Helen was appreciated & treasured not only by her devoted loving daughters, but many other people who she touched by her kindness & generous spirit! My deepest sincere sympathy for the loss of your beloved Mother! Love, Shelly💝

  2. We send our sincere condolences. The obituary was a lovely tribute to your Mother and triggered many memories of Aunt Helen. Hugs from us both.

  3. Jessica, Neil and Karen
    Your mom (better known to me as ‘Aunt’ Helen) was such a lovely
    kind, caring person with a beautiful smile that could melt your heart.
    Please know that special thoughts are with you at this difficult time.
    With love, Marie Yungblut

  4. Sorry to hear about Helen’s passing
    She will always be remembered

  5. Congratulations to a life well lived, Aunt Helen. You have accomplished so much and believed in the right things. We will cherish our memories. May you Rest In Peace. Love Laurie, Wayne and family.

  6. Love at first sight! That’s what I felt when I met Helen in my online cooking class. I will forever be grateful to Jessica and Neil to connect Helen over Zoom so I could meet her. She was an amazing human being. I wish I had met her in person. My sincere condolences. Love, Sapna

  7. Although I did not know Helen personally, except for the stories of feisty resolve and infectious optimism from Jessica and Neil, I find myself with mixed tears of both loss and encouragement as I read about her life and the many lives she touched. The story of her self-sacrificing life and service to so many is moving and inspiring…not just as a life story but as a motivator for mysself to be better and work toward leaving a legacy of touched lives and, in some small way, honor Helen’s life of impact. For me, that starts today as I “don’t let what I can’t do interfere with what I can do.” May the light of Helen’s life shine bright on the future generations surely affected by the blessing she was to so many.

  8. Helen will be missed. She always had a lovely smile, warm wit and a twinkle in her eye that would make me think, “What are you up to, young lady!” She was always young at heart and full of love and empathy for others. May she be enjoying many countryside drives with her beau…forever.

  9. What a wonderful tribute that truly expresses the absolutely wonderful person Helen was. I have many fond memories of growing up on the 3rd Line with Helen as a role model & mentor.
    My deepest sympathies.
    Sincerely Cheryl Dotzert (nee Green)

  10. Our thoughts are with you in this time of sorrow ,she will be missed your words were right on .

  11. Several years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Helen Turvey, mother of my sweet and amazing friend Jessica. We happened upon each other in the fabric department at Hobby Lobby. Big surprise, Right!! The spark in her eyes immediately confirmed she was a very special lady. She was so full of creative ideas, and suggestions for projects I could consider for my granddaughter. Our conversation, although short, encouraged me to explore those projects. I feel Helen helped me to continue to stay positive, and be grateful for who I am. Although she will be missed, she continues to live on through each of us who felt her joy, received her encouragement, were amazed at all her talents, and enjoyed her feistiness!

  12. Thursday October 28, 2010 – I met Helen Turvey – and our friendship grew each time we met. It was like climbing a ladder !
    12 years & 24 months – of non stop talk and smocking questions. It was always about detail, using the proper material – threads, the separating and using a good pleater. Even the first day of lessons I was accomplishing the cable stitch and then I had homework – yes, the little piece of paper – identifying issues that may occur and what to do next – The first lesson -west of Brooksdale – allowed me to learn about organization – and labelling – this was like walking into a home economics room. Eventually we talked about 4H and then I knew that Helen and my Mother had similar traits – if a job is worth doing it’s worth doing right. In other words if the baby wave was not lining up with the wave combination – it was ripped out.
    Yesturday, Today and Tomorrow, I will continue to make baby cotton bonnets, so others can adore, admire and learn about a friendship that started when life was taking us both in different directions. At the end of the day, when we both put our head to the pillow – we knew, that prayer was our final passage.
    To God be the glory, great things he has done. Amen

  13. Our hearts go out to each of you………Karen, Jessica & Neil. We have so many happy memories of your Mother. Your words were perfect in speaking of your Mother’s beautiful life. We will miss her and hold each of you in our hearts & prayers. Hugs & Love, Dennis & Carol

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