Helen McElwain, 99

Helen McElwain, beloved wife of the late Harold L. McElwain passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Helen was born on June 14, 1921 in Philadelphia, the daughter of Francis J. and Gertrude Cahill Cavanaugh. Helen and Harold met while he was stationed in Philadelphia during WWII. They married on March 11, 1944, and after his discharge from the Army Air Corps they made their home in Ellwood City.

Helen’s four children survive: Floyd H. McElwain and his wife, Tona Rae Manzo McElwain, H. Frank McElwain and his wife, Carolyn Crawford McElwain, Kevin L. McElwain and his wife, Debbie Russo McElwain, and Dr. Mariann C. McElwain and her husband, Dr. Jonathan M. Urffer. Also surviving are Helen’s grandchildren: Andrea (James) Vetica, Floyd (Jodi) McElwain, Jr., Leslie (Ryan Stewart) McElwain, Kathleen (Mark Keating) McElwain, Helen Urffer and Declan Urffer, and 11 great-grandchildren.

Helen’s surviving siblings are Bernice (Bud) Gemiganni, Irene (Ed) Murray and Claire (Danny) Donnelly. She is also survived by her sister-in-law Mary Evelyn (Lee) Christy and numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband three siblings pre-deceased Helen: Gertrude (Barney) Boyland, Mary (Joe) Winner and Frank (Emily) Cavanaugh.

Helen was fiercely devoted to her family, her Irish heritage and her Catholic faith. She was a member of Holy Redeemer Parish.

The family extends sincere gratitude to Home Instead and their caregivers and to neighbor and friend Gail Meuhlman who provided compassionate care and friendship, and especially to her granddaughter Andrea who tended to Helen’s needs so lovingly throughout the course of her recent illness.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated with friends and family on Saturday, June 27, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. at Holy Redeemer Parish. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Ellwood City Library, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Marshall Funeral Home, Ellwood City. Online condolences may be sent to marshallsfh.com

Masks and social distancing are required at the church.

15 thoughts on “Helen McElwain, 99

  1. So sorry for your loss, she was a very special lady, and both of your parents provided me with many fond moments of growing up in E.C. May she rest in peace, and God Bless! Russ Minnocci

    • Thanks to all~

      Helen certainly was a force to be reckoned with.

      We are grateful that her passing was peaceful. She got what she prayed for — to be in her home and to die in her sleep.

      Thanks for reaching out. It means a great deal to our family.

  2. Sympathies to the McElwain family. She was a lovely classy lady. RIP Helen…..sincerely…..Debbie Stevenson Goehring…….

    • Thanks, Debbie~

      Helen was a formidable woman!

      She probably kept Harold and your Dad out of heaps of trouble.

      Our family appreciates your thoughts.

  3. My thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. May God’s loving arms surround you, comfort you and give you strength in the days ahead. Our family has been blessed with having Helen and Harold as a part of it. Rest in Peace Helen.

  4. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. I always enjoyed speaking with Helen whenever she would call the office where I am employed. I was thrilled when I had the chance to meet and visit with her on several occasions. When I last spoke with Helen, it was right after her 99th birthday, she shared with me she celebrated her birthday with 16 of her family members. Take comfort in knowing you all were the pride and joy of her life! She will be missed! May God grant you comfort and strength during this time.

  5. To the McElwain Family,
    Sharing in your sorrow and loss with love and friendship.
    Art and Linda Smilek

    • Thanks, Art and Linda~

      Helen was a formidable woman!

      We are grateful that her passing was peaceful. She got what she prayed for – to be in her own home and to be taken in her sleep.

      Thanks for reaching out.

  6. Our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Helen. May all the memories made during her lifetime help the family to heal.
    RIP and God Bless

    • Scott and Debbie~

      Kevin and I appreciate your thought as does our entire family.

      Lots of good stories and laughs when you get 99 years!

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