Saturday, June 5, 2021

 Helen (Bement) Bigelow

Helen L. (Bement) Bigelow, 91, of Fremont, Michigan went to be with her Lord and Savior on Monday afternoon, Jan. 18, 2021.

She was born on June 16, 1929 in Webberville to Lewis and Marcia (Farnsworth) Bement. Helen grew up in a large family on her father’s farm near Webberville, and she graduated from Webberville High School.

A couple of days after marrying young enlisted man Robert Bigelow, Helen rode a bus to Texas with her husband and started a lifetime of traveling and working together. Their 20 years as a U.S. Army family took them, and eventually their five children, all over the United States, and they also lived in Germany twice. When Robert’s 20th year in the military took him to a tour of duty as a helicopter pilot and maintenance chief in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967, Helen cared for their five children in Michigan. When he retired from the Army in 1967, they began a successful farming career in Smyrna, Mich. that lasted for a few years until they heeded God’s call into the gospel ministry.

It was during the farm years that Helen began expanding her work as a mother by welcoming foster children into the family. They continued providing a home to foster children for many years, more than 80 children over 25 years. When they sold the farm and Robert began studying for the pastoral ministry at Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music, Helen also took classes there. She also graduated from the Child Evangelism Fellowship Institute.

Helen was a vital part of the pastoral ministry in 13 churches altogether, including Aetna Calvary Church and Country Bible Church in Newaygo County and Gowen Bible Church in Montcalm County. She worked in children’s ministries and led Bible studies in a host of communities in Michigan and other states. She was still leading a ladies Bible study until just a couple of years ago. Late in the couple’s more than 40 years of ministry, when Robert served as the chaplain of a large Christian RV campground in Texas, she conducted an extensive visitation program and led a popular Bible study for more than 100 women.

Helen once estimated that, during their 70 years of marriage and military and ministry service, they moved nearly 50 times. Nobody knows an exact number.

Helen was known for her love of God, her family and all children, and for her lively sense of humor, her compassion for people, and a love of singing and using her deep contralto voice in harmony.

She is survived by her husband, Robert W. Bigelow; five children: Robert L. (Cheryl) Bigelow of Greenville, South Carolina, Charles L. (Shani) Bigelow of Liberty Hill, Texas, Wayne E. (Carol Brooks) Bigelow of Madison, Wisconsin, Patricia A. (Greg Sykes) Bigelow of Caledonia, and LouAnne J. (Richard) Wheater of Fremont; seven grandchildren: Jason (Cassie) Bigelow, Brad (Linze) Bigelow, Jeremy Bigelow, Candy Wungnema, Thomas Charles Bigelow, Patti Wheater, and Richard Wheater, Jr.; six great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and one brother, Bob (Joan) Bement.

Helen was preceded in death by her sisters and brothers: Ella Foreman, Ilah Mae Horton, Nanette Allen, Dorothy Meyer, Lena Foreman, Mildred Hawley, Tess Owens, Richard Bement, Lois Nelson, Cleo Chase, Juanita Haskell, Louie Arnold Stringham, Ben Bement and Si Bement.

A private family service was held in January at Country Bible Church with Pastor Len Lason officiating.

A public memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 12, at 1 p.m. in the outdoor pavilion at The Shack Bed and Breakfast at 2263 W. 14th Street, White Cloud, Mich.

Interment was in the Sherman Township Cemetery in Newaygo County.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be given to Country Bible Church, or to Hospice of Michigan, Newaygo County. Contact information and an online guest book are available online at Arrangements are by Kroeze-Wolffis Funeral Home of Fremont.

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