School 09

Marcia Louise (Nelson) Helland

December 15, 1934 ~ May 5, 2019 (age 84)

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Westfield - Marcia Louise Helland, 84, passed away peacefully Sunday, May 5, 2019 at Vibra Hospital in Leicester.  
Marcia was born on December 15, 1934, daughter to the late William L. and Laura M. (Fernandes) Nelson. Marcia was raised in New Bedford and was a graduate from New Bedford High School and got her B.A. from Simmons College. She was a recipient of a College Club Scholarship and the Skirtball Scholarship and was also part of the Simmons Review staff. She lived in Oregon, California, Illinois, Missouri, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine. Maine by the sea was her favorite.
Marcia was an avid reader and read up to 40 books a year. She loved to garden and visit the flower shows at Smith College. She loved animals especially her dogs, and loved to feed the birds in her backyard garden. She regularly gave to animal rights groups and shelters and to political causes and candidates. She listened to NPR everyday and possessed a vast knowledge of politics. She was a crossword puzzle enthusiast and could answer so many questions on Jeopardy that her family and friends thought she should be on the show. 
She loved Jazz, especially Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Glen Miller and Joe Williams and frequently went to see and support the Westfield State College Jazz band.
She was a member of the Church of Atonement in Westfield and also volunteered helping in the office and the church’s rummage sales. In the late 70s she worked at Westfield Athenaeum and in the 90’s she worked at Displaced Home Makers, an organization that helped women get back on their feet, then subsequently took a job at the INS in Vermont until her retirement. She was also a contributing writer to Southwoods Magazine.
Marcia was predeceased by her beloved husband Donald M. Helland in 1983.  She is survived by her sons Erik Helland of Westfield and Scott Helland and his partner Samantha Stephenson of New Paltz, NY.  A Celebration of Life will take place Saturday May 18th at 1:30pm at the Church of Atonement, 36 Court Street in Westfield.  A private burial will take place in California. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Marcia’s memory to ASPCA, World Wildlife Fund or Planned Parenthood.  Please visit for Marcia’s tribute page.

To send flowers to Marcia's family, please visit our floral section.


Celebration of Life
May 18, 2019

1:30 PM
Episcopal Church of Atonement
36 Court Street
Westfield, MA 01085

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