Gardening 03


Helena M. Stilwell

May 15, 2019


Helena M. Stilwell passed away on May 15, 2019 at the Country House in Wilmington, Delaware. She was born in Harrington, Delaware.  Her parents were Joseph T. Kirkby and Miriam (Sibitzky) Kirkby.

Shortly after her birth, Helena moved to Houston, Delaware and then to Wilmington, Delaware.  After attending grade school, Helena graduated from P.S DuPont High School in 1950.  Upon graduation, she was employed by “North American Smelting” as an executive secretary.  It was during her employment that she met and married Henry Gregory Stilwell on Sept 22, 1951 and shared 67 wonderful and cherished years.  She shared her very first house with Gregory, which was located on Veale Road, Wilmington, Delaware.  The couple subsequently purchased their first home located on Shelley Drive in Ashbourne Hills, Claymont, Delaware.  It was this dwelling where they started and raised a family during their 55 year tenure.

Helena was an extremely caring and benevolent contributor as witnessed by her numerous volunteer endeavors which included work at the Church of Ascension Guild of which five of those years she headed the many fractions within the Church of Ascension Guild.  Other acts of benevolence at the aforementioned church was her consistent refinishing of organ consoles, many times working in sync with Gregory as he was the lead for all maintenance and repair.   Other significant acts of benevolence included but were not limited to the fact that Helena sewed hundreds of pillows for the “Helen Graham” Cancer Center for the numerous cancer patients for which she was recognized as displayed by the many awards due to  her over 10,000 hours of effort and service.  Helena was a master sewer and furniture-refinisher, which benefitted her family and others.  Helena made many of her families’ clothes and refurnished many of her Church items. In addition, she participated in the painting on both the inside and outside of her church.  Her sewing benefactors also included the knitting of baby booties and hats for newborns at some of the local hospitals.  When not volunteering, Helena worked at Strawbridge & Clothier in the China Department.  Her employment was initiated only after she had successfully raised and nourished her children.

Helena is survived by her husband, Gregory; her son, Gregory H. Stilwell and his wife, Priscilla; her daughter, Margaret H. and her husband, Lawrence Franz; her sisters, Loretta Little and spouse, Edward, Miriam Rutynowski  and her husband, George; four grandchildren; and three great grandchildren; three nieces; and two nephews.  Predeceased are her sister, Rosalie Napier and her brother, George Kirkby and his spouse, Jeannie. 

Funeral service will be held Saturday, May 25, 2019, 10am at Church of the Ascension, 3717 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, DE 19703.  Friends may visit with the family at the church Saturday morning from 9am to 10am.  Burial will be in Gracelawn Memorial Park, New Castle, DE.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions can be made to the Church of the Ascension.

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