Helen was born October 29, 1932 in Rye, New York, to the late Victor and Helen Pierce Cooley. Her formative years were spent mostly in Rye, with a brief residence in St. Louis, Missouri.
Helen earned an undergraduate degree from Manhattanville College and a Master of Science in Education from the University of Bridgeport and served as teacher’s assistant at Center Elementary School in New Canaan, CT.
In addition to her family, service and volunteering were important to Helen, along with her faith. She was active in several movements in her church over the years, such as Cursillo, Emmaus, Prayer Group, Marriage Encounter, and directed the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults while living with her family in New Canaan. Upon retirement in North Carolina, she continued her volunteer service, most recently with Haywood Street Congregation in Asheville. She can be seen, as can that community’s importance to her, in the following video.
Helen was preceded in death by Myles, her husband of 51 years. She is survived by her sister Kay Cooley; three daughters, Kathy Reilly Floyd (Bill), Megan Reilly Buser (Steve) and Sheila Reilly Swanson (Rob), and two sons John Sheridan Reilly (Carrine) and Matthew Ronan Reilly (Christine); 10 grandchildren, Michael, Sarah, Alison and Benjamin Floyd, Myles and Kathleen (Vaughan) Reilly, Lauren (Woldemariam) and Tyler Reilly, and Brian and Saila Buser; and four great grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life service will be held for Helen at St. Giles Chapel at the Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community on Saturday, October 29th at 10:00 am.