Helen spent her childhood years in New York around the area of New Haven. She served time in the military from 1944-1945 where she was a medical technician.
After the military, she worked at Brooks Hospital in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where she met and fell in love with her husband, Bernie Mackey. They were married on March 31, 1950 and immediately started fostering and adopting children. She and Bernie adopted, fostered, and kept foreign exchange students and opened their home to anyone needing a place to stay. Above everything else, she loved her children, whether adopted or foster children.
Helen and Bernie came to Mountain Grove in 1957, bought a farm just west of town, and had more than 42 happy years together. They also had a cattle and pig trucking company, BB Mackey and Sons.
Helen was an active leader with Livewire 4-H Club and was instrumental in getting the Don Faurot Youth Center built and running for youth all over the world. She raised her children at Southside Baptist Church and was an active member as long as her health permitted. She gave God the credit for her wonderful life.
Helen was a great artist and taught classes in art. She traveled the world and had friends all over the world. She was voted Business and Professional Woman of the Year in 1969. She competed in the Veterans’ Golden Age Olympics for several years and won the gold in swimming. One her 88th birthday, she went skydiving. She also attended college at Missouri State University when she was ninety years old.
One of the last things Helen wanted to accomplish was to write a book about her life. She was able to see her book in print only a few months ago. She made every day of her life count and was always looking for a new venture. She loved to view her flowers, birds, and other wildlife at her home. When she could no longer care completely for herself, she moved to assisted living for several months, which is where her earthly life ended.
Helen wanted to leave a message to everyone she came in contact with the past few months. She had made a card to hand to people with the message “Until we meet again, Never stop learning, Don’t be afraid to try new endeavors, Show love to all. God Is Love.”
Besides her parents, Helen was preceded in death by her husband on August 7, 1992; two brothers, Ernest and Lee; one sister, Leona Deer; and an infant great-grandson, Laim Mackey.
Helen is survived by three sons, Alvin Mackey and wife Debbie of Mountain Grove, Bentley Mackey and wife Nichole of Pleasant Hill, Missouri, and Lolan Mackey and wife Theresa of Bentonville, Arkansas; three daughters, Mary Hicks and husband Ron of Bolivar, Missouri, Rose Clark of Bellevue, Nebraska, and Lois Galvan of Elkhart, Indiana; one sister, Sue Myers of Gloversville, New York; 13 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and many other family members and friends who will sadly miss her.
A celebration of life was held on Saturday, May 21, 2016, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Southside Baptist Church in Mountain Grove.
Memorial contributions may be made to VFW or American Legion in care of the funeral home.