Helen M. Lietz, 84, of Aberdeen (and most recently Tinton Falls), passed away suddenly yet peacefully on Thursday, June 9th, surrounded by the loving embrace of her family.
Helen was born in New York City and raised on the Upper East Side in Yorkville. After graduating from Cathedral High School in 1956, she worked for Western Electric, where she met the love of her life, Jack. They married on June 16, 1962, and moved to Hazlet, New Jersey in 1966 to raise their family, relocating to Aberdeen in 1979.
After working part time while raising her family, Helen re-entered the work force in 1979 as a Technical Assistant at Bell Labs in Holmdel, retiring in 2000. She was a devout Catholic and active parishioner of St. Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church in Holmdel, where she taught CCD, sang in the folk group, and volunteered in the food pantry. She was also a member of the St. Gerard Group and the Red Hat Society.
Every season, holiday, and family celebration was filled with home-made embellishments and lots of love and laughter. Anyone who entered her home felt they were a member of the family. Helen loved family game nights and especially sleepovers with her grandchildren. She also enjoyed Bridge, Pinochle, Cribbage, Suduko, Wordle, Jeopardy, and Wheel of Fortune, and recently became a Netflix binger. She took great pleasure in making brightly colored quilts and decorative gingerbread houses for family and her many friends, often surprising them driving miles to deliver them.
She always wanted in on the fun, whether it be shots of Patron with her nieces, iFly skydiving with her grandkids, or mule-ing down the Grand Canyon with her husband. Often, she was the most “mature” rider on the Zany Zipper in Ocean City, MD or any roller coaster anywhere. Nicknamed “Holy Helen,” her sense of humor was devilish quips, and pranking neighbors on Halloween, or short-sheeting friends on vacation. Although soft spoken, Helen was feisty. She’d get knocked down, but, “oh brother,” she’d get right back up again … and usually she’d get the last word, even if you couldn’t hear her.
Helen’s unshakeable strength overcame a multitude of challenges, including recently moving to Seabrook Village in Tinton Falls to face a whole new life alone, after 58 years of marriage. She was a two-time cancer survivor (breast and ovarian), battled pneumonia more than twice, quickly and completely prevailed over a fractured hip and a hip replacement, and she ‘rocked steady’ to out-box Parkinson’s Disease. Despite her petite frame, she was, for a slender amount of time, indeed “Big & Loud.” Even in the end, her robust, some might say ‘stubborn,’ spirit defied all expectations.
Predeceased by her husband, Jack (December 8, 2020), Helen is survived by her three children, John Lietz and his wife Mary Ann of Aberdeen, Christine Lietz and her partner Joe Morton of Red Bank, and Jennifer Forsyth and her husband John of Brick; her sister Eileen Brando, and her brother Fred Muller, both of NYC; and her beloved grandchildren Brianna, Erin, Jackson, Jade, and Alyssa.
Visitation will be Tuesday, June 14th, 3:30 to 7:30 pm at Holmdel Funeral Home, 26 South Holmdel Road, Holmdel. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Wednesday, June 15th at 11:00 am at St. Benedict’s RC Church, 165 Bethany Road, Holmdel.
As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions can be made in Helen’s name to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, or Rock Steady Boxing to fight back against Parkinson’s Disease.
To leave a message of condolence or share a favorite memory, please visit Helen’s tribute page at www.holmdelfuneralhome.com.