Helen Rachel McDonald
January 11, 1924 – January 18, 2020
Helen Rachel McDonald was welcomed into the arms of her heavenly Father in the early morning hours of January 18th, 2020.
She was born in Mishawaka on January 11, 1924 to Nancy Rachel (Stage) and Cecil Valentine Schmeltz. She was the youngest of their 6 children. As a teen during the Great Depression, she left school to take a job at Crystal Cleaners to help support the family. She later worked at Ball Band. In April 1942, she met Herbert Wayne McDonald at a local bowling alley. They had a whirlwind courtship, and were married on June 29th of the same year. They both worked at Ball Band (later Uniroyal) as they saved to build a house. They welcomed their first child, daughter, Judy, in November 1943. Nine years later, their son, Richard was born. Helen and Herb were life-long residents of Mishawaka. He retired from Uniroyal and she became a homemaker. Helen resided in the home they built together until shortly before her passing.
Helen is survived by her daughter, Judy (Stephen) Samson of Osceola, IN, son Richard (Cheryl) McDonald of Warsaw, IN, 5 grandchildren: Rhonda (Robert) Bursley, Mark (Mackenzie) Samson, Erin (Michael) Milbauer, Jessica McDonald and Kaitlin McDonald, 6 great-grandchildren: Nathan Samson, Ariel (Jordan) Clay, Rachel Diller, Cameron Simes, Hallie Simes, Brooklyn Mettler and one on the way. She also has 6 great-great grandchildren: Arabella, Ailyn, Luke, Maddox, Eliana, and Linley. Helen was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years, Herbert “Herbie” McDonald, her parents, Nancy and Cecil Schmeltz, and her siblings, Alice Rehder, Dora Heeter, Roy Schmeltz, Ira Schmeltz, and Albert Schmeltz.
Helen devoted her life to her family and her home. She loved to bake and cook. Anyone walking through the door was going to get fed, whether they were hungry or not! She kept her home and yard immaculate! She loved flowers, and each year planted hundreds! Her backyard looked like a flower garden. She loved to watch the birds at the feeder and made friends with the squirrels. She handed them cookies, and they soon began scratching on her back door, looking for their treats! She was most content at home, but did enjoy trips to California, Colorado, and many trips to Florida. Disney World was one of her favorite places, mostly because she loved the abundance of beautiful flowers and landscaping. She enjoyed eating out, especially when she could treat her whole family to a meal at one of her favorite restaurants. She played such a vital role in the lives of her family, often caring for the little ones while their parents worked. She would drop everything to help her family. Her home was always a safe and happy place to be. She was a cherished mom and grandma. Her love and devotion has touched the hearts and directed the paths of her entire family. She will be greatly missed and never forgotten.
Friends may visit with the family on Friday, January 24th from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm, in the Bubb Funeral Chapel, 3910 N. Main St., Mishawaka. A service celebrating Helen’s life will be held at 2:00 pm with Pastor Dave Sjoberg officiating. She will be laid to rest in the Fairview Cemetery of Mishawaka.