Helen Elaine Dickinson, Janesville, WI
November 16, 1918 - March 15, 2017
Helen Elaine Dickinson, 98, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. Born Helen Elaine Benzelos, on November 16, 1918, to Emmanuel Peter Benzelos and Thelma H. Thompson in Fort Dodge, IA. She attended high school in Lansing, MI, and earned a degree in education from Michigan State (College). Helen married her high school friend, Charles Edward Dickinson in 1944. During WWII, she was employed by Pratt & Whitney as an engineering assistant, and helped to develop the B2 Bomber. After the war, she and her husband settled in Ohio, where daughter Penny was born. The Dickinson’s moved to Lansing, MI, where Helen taught elementary school, then in 1969 to Madison, WI, where they co-founded Pizza Pit with two partners. Charles and Helen retired to Venice, FL in 1980, where they were members of numerous organizations, including the Audubon Society. She was also a member of the ADK teacher’s sorority. Helen enjoyed traveling and visited places like Greece, New Zealand, Hawaii, as well as much of the continental U.S. She loved sewing and letter writing. While living in Florida, she attended Grace United Methodist Church in Venice. In 2013, Helen moved to Janesville, WI to be closer to family, and joined Faith Community Church.
She is survived by daughter, Penny Cook Petranek (David), Janesville; grandson, Christopher J. Wood, Janesville; granddaughter, Kiva R. (Wood) Gittings Graves (Michael); eight great grandchildren: Alex and Erik Wood, Adisen and Nolan Gittings, Brandon, Cameron, Morgan, and Olivia Graves; numerous other family members and friends. Helen was preceded in death by her husband Charles (“Dick” or “Charlie Canoe”) in 2008.
On Saturday, April 1, 2017, from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m., a Celebration of Life open house will be held at 4312 Hearthridge Drive, Janesville. All who knew Helen or the family are welcome to attend. Helen will be cremated at Schneider Funeral Home & Crematory. For online condolences and registry: www.schneiderfuneraldirectors.com
The family extends a special thanks to the staff at Agrace Hospice who assisted in Helen’s care, as well as special friends: Michelle Holtz, Val Saxer, Marge Needham, and Penny Nordberg, and Pastor Emily Chamberlin, New Life Church.