Helen Lee Massengale

May 8, 1918 ~ November 30, 2019 (age 101)


Helen Lee Lyon was born on May 8, 1918, in Calera, Oklahoma, her father, was Augustus ‘Gus’ Lyon and her mother was Ida (Lick) Lyon.

Helen had one brother, Glenn, who died at the young age of 17, when his appendix ruptured while he was working the oil fields in Texas with his uncle. The year was 1928 and Helen was only 10 years old.

Helen graduated from High School in Calera, Oklahoma in 1935, when she was just barely seventeen.

She went on to attend Southeast Oklahoma State College, in Durant, Oklahoma, and attained her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, Home Economics and Commerce in 1939.

Helen began her teaching career in Grant, Oklahoma in 1940, where she met the love of her life, Robert Edward Lee Massengale, where he was also a teacher. They married the following year on July 20, 1941.

They both continued teaching in Grant for a few years, before moving to Hugo, Oklahoma, where they made their home for many years to come.

Helen was fortunate to begin another career around 1950, when she accepted a position with the Oklahoma State Department of Education, School Lunch Division. Helen enjoyed a career which took her on many journeys around the Southeast portion of Oklahoma, where she visited the schools in several counties to make sure they were following the nutrition guidelines adopted by the State, and to also make sure the school districts were being properly reimbursed by the State and Federal agencies for the School Lunch Programs in place at the time.

In 1954, they were blessed with the birth of their first child, a daughter named Lea Ann.

Sadly, Helen’s mother, Ida, passed away in 1956, and ‘Gus’ followed her in death the following year in 1957. Helen and Bob were blessed with another daughter in 1958, but she too passed away after only two days, from complications of malformations that may have been created when Helen had helped steady her father for x-rays during the early stages of her pregnancy, the year before.

Just when they thought they may only have one child, Helen and Bob were blessed again with the birth of their son, Robert Lyon, in 1959.

During the 1960’s, Helen pursued her career and decided to further her education by obtaining her Master’s Degree in Education in 1968. As she continued to flourish in the “world” of School Lunches, she was named President of the National School Food Service Association, where she served for a few years.

In 1973, her husband, Bob, retired from teaching after 32 years, and they moved from Hugo, Oklahoma to the retirement community of Bella Vista, Arkansas. Although, Helen continued to work until 1982, when she also retired. They then spent many years enjoying their retirement through serving at their church, joining an RV club and spending many hours in their 16’ travel trailer on exciting adventures with many good friends.

In 2003, the love of her life, after 62 years of marriage and at the age of 92, went home to be with the Lord. Helen began the next phase of her life without her beloved Bob. She remained active in her church in Arkansas and was involved in many activities within the retirement community of Bella Vista. She did, however, begin to spend more time in Florida, and in 2012, at the age of 94, she made Florida her permanent home. After a short illness, Helen passed away on November 30, 2019 at the age of 101.

Helen is survived by two children, Lea Ann and Robert; four grandchildren, Wes, Eric, Robert and Wade; and six great-grandchildren, Corbin, Peyton, Charlotte, Cosette, Paige and Ellery.

Graveside Service

Saturday, December 7, 2019
10:00 AM

Mt. Olivet Cemetery
1201 S. 8th St.
Hugo, OK 74743

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