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1176 Main Street
Fairfax, VT 05454
Phone: 802-849-6261
Fax: 802-849-6262
Helen Kinsley

Helen K. (Kelley) Kinsley

Sunday, July 8th, 1928 - Saturday, October 10th, 2020
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Helen K. (Kelley) Kinsley, 92, passed away at home in St. Albans with her family by her side on Saturday, October10th, 2020. She was born on July 8, 1928 in Enosburg Falls, daughter of the late Roy and Della (Ploof) Kelley.

She attended school in Underhill when her family moved to a farm on Route 15 and after finishing high school went on to study cosmetology.

She married Perry Kinsley Jr., of Jericho on September 13th, 1947 and they built a house in the Riverside area of Jericho with a spectacular view of Mt. Mansfield. She operated a home beauty salon for many years and at one point taught a kindergarten class there. There were sheep grazing in a next door pasture and we kindergarten kids invariably had to have our turn getting bit by the electric fence. In those years you learned a lot of things by experience which continues to be one of the best means of education.
She was devoted to her home and family and she and Perry lived in the Riverside area of Jericho until 1967 when Perry’s job took him to Newport Vt. for a year. They then lived in Jericho on the Governor Peck Road before moving to St. Albans in 1983. After Perry retired they became snowbirds and spent many winters in Florida.

Helen’s passion was cooking and trying new recipes. She often even cooked special treats for birds and other wildlife. She was an avid reader, and a talented flower grower, taking many prizes every year at the Champlain Valley Fair for her roses and floral arrangements when living in Jericho. After moving to St. Albans Vt., she specialized in and sold hybrid daylilies as well as vegetables for many years. She took great pride in her Vermont and Florida homes, doing much of the up-keep herself simply because she got great enjoyment from it.

Helen was predeceased by her husband Perry; daughter Jane Kinsley Reynolds of Groveton, NH, sisters Marion Haylette and Norma Blow, and brothers Douglas and Robert Kelley. She Leaves behind daughter Debra Kiel and husband Warren of Westford Vt., and daughter Alice Karren and husband Victor of Buckeye Az Grandchildren include Rachel Green with partner Todd Robinson of Waterford, Vt., Scott Green and wife Denise of Waterbury Ctr., Vt., Ben Karren and wife Rikki of Goodyear, Az.., Eli Karren of Austin Tx., Jennifer Arsenault and husband Gary of St. Petersburg Fla., and Robert Reynolds of Groveton NH. Helen has four great-grandchildren; Sienna and Amelia Arsenault, Cecilia Robinson and Granger Karren. She is also survived by her sister-in-law Mary Kelley of Underhill.

Per Helen’s wishes there will be no calling hours. Inurnment will be at a later date in a private ceremony at the Underhill Flats Cemetery. Memorial contributions in Helen’s memory may be made to the American Heart Association or the Humane Society of Chittenden County.

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Per Helen’s wishes there will be no calling hours. Inurnment will be at a later date in a private ceremony at the Underhill Flats Cemetery.



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Private Condolence

Posted at 08:18pm
Deborah and family,
Your mom was a wonderful neighbor and friend. We will miss our coffee and visit times. We know she is at peace. We miss her.
Maureen and Bernadette

Scott Green

Posted at 08:04pm
In remembrance of my ever loving grandmother. Helen Kinsley
From a very early age, I have wonderful memories of my grandmother. She always made it a point to make sure I did not leave her house hungry. We enjoyed over the years going out to breakfast and talking about life, family, history and some gossip on the side. She loved to have me sit and listen to Grampa's stories and would get a good laugh out of the parts that he would embellish. Helen taught me the value of hard work and how to make something last. I will miss you dearly and you will always be in my thoughts and prayers.
Your loving grandson Scott



Posted at 06:18pm
My grandmother was amazing. I remember being a little girl going to grandma's house. I was dropped off early morning excited for a day with gram. A day with gram was many things hiding candy from grandpa, feeding raccoons, going to the bakery for a pink pig cupcake and spinning on the stools, some days we painted nails. I loved to pick out polish from her dresser. Gram had plastic pop beads that I turned into beautiful pearl necklaces. Spending the night was fun , her house on gov. Peck road had a room we slept in with a big bed and mini orange tree. I used to wonder how she could grow mini oranges inside. She would pick me special roses and I loved to go and see what color would be awaiting my arrival. She made many pairs of mittens that kept my hands warm through the winters in Vermont. Her memories will always be with me. She took care of her family and will forever be loved in my heart.

Posted at 01:50pm
My Mother was the most selfless person I ever knew. She spent a lifetime focused on her home and family, always looking for ways to make the lives of her children and husband better. She dearly loved to cook and feed anyone and everyone who crossed her path.

I, like my Sister Debra, have a lifetime of memories to recall. The trips to camp were especially memorable and something we looked forward to each year, us three kids sandwiched into the backseat alongside a rabbit, a guinea pig and our rather large dog. All of the animals we ever owned were treated like royalty. My Mother would never have considered leaving them behind to be cared for by anyone else. It’s doubtful that any trip to camp was any vacation for Mom, but nevertheless she made it fun.

I can barely remember our year in Florida as I was only one or two years old, but the pictures from that time served as a visual time capsule of what I had missed. I was told that seeing snow falling on Panama City Beach that winter was something to behold. To this day I believe that experience has something to do with my dislike of winter and my love of old Florida.

I remember the two abandoned kittens that joined our household as a result of my Father’s trip to deer camp one year. My Mother was a push over for any animal in need, so they quickly became our new pets. My Mother had a little set of stairs built to the upper deck on our house so those kittens would have a means to escape any wild predators they might encounter. She delighted in seeing them quickly learn the new
drill. How they loved to sun themselves there in the winter without the need for wet paws.

Her talents as a seamstress were enviable. She made me more dresses than I can count, including my wedding dress. All I had to do was describe what I wanted, and it appeared, no pattern necessary.

Poor health in her later years really kept her from being the vital person she wanted to be. I take comfort in the belief that she is finally at peace. Her family is grateful for the lifetime of memories she left us with. She will be sorely missed.

Debra Kiel

Posted at 09:51am
Mom was devoted to her family and everything she did was in some way connected with making their life happy leaving us with lots of reasons to try and be like her in so many ways.
Some of my first memories were of living in Tallahassee across from the capitol building while my father was in graduate school. Mom had the three of us girls by that time and it must have been a handful in a small upstairs apartment. It snowed the winter we were there and we girls wanted to make a snowman on the lawn there. I don’t remember if any of us had mittens but I know I didn’t and mom walked us to a store to get some for me. I still remember my hands being so cold on the walk to the store and warm on the way back.
She was also a great seamstress and with great excitement that same year she made me a poodle skirt from felt . I was about five years old at the time and just dripping with anticipation of this wonderful creation that would flare and twirl. Her only mistake was to then decide to wash the skirt before I wore it and felt doesn’t take kindly to hot water and agitation. What came out I remember looked mostly like a spider web. It was gray, like a poodle, but that’s about all you could still tell of the skirt.
Her sewing machine was a Singer treadle that I also learned to sew on, starting out trying to make clothes for my Barbie doll. I remember she stayed up very late one Christmas Eve to make pajamas for my stuffed fox as I realized too late that I hadn’t come up with a gift for him. The machine at that time must have been in my bedroom as I remember the sound of the treadle and the comfort of knowing my Chipper was going to have a special gift from me in the morning.
We girls never lacked for things to do as she made sure we had plenty of board games and crafts. One summer it was paint by numbers, another it was crewel work paintings, many of which still hang in her house. We had an assortment of animals including a resident guinea pig with a hutch in the kitchen who would get up on a little wooden bed we made him, lay down and stretch out his legs for a nap. I’m sure many of mom’s salon clientele remember Toby very well as he had a disconcerting habit after his bedding was renewed of backing up to his screen walls and peeing, then rooting madly under his stairs until the new straw suited him.
Mom made sure we always had a vacation before school started and she packed up everything we needed including Toby and his big hutch to bring with us to a little camp on St. Albans Bay for a week each summer. If you have never been to camp on the lake you are missing an experience everyone should have. We girls loved the wooden bunks with curtains, the dock, and the old rowboat dad used to take us out fishing in (especially me as I had more patience). I remember collecting clam shells from under the dock, a wild storm one night that waved over the dock and allowed the sheepshead fish I had caught the day before to escape from the pail I had it in, and learning to like the crunch of fried perch tails. You never get over Lake Champlain once you’ve been in it or on it.
Of course we had a Lassie dog, well know as she made the rounds around the neighborhood for treats as many dogs did during those days. Lassie never at regular dog food, mom cooked her supper after she was done cooking ours. When dad and mom moved back to Jericho from Newport two black cats came with them; Pierre and Minoux.
In St. Albans, being too close to a busy road for dogs or cats, she had favorite chipmunks, a wild bunny that would appear now and then, and crows that she made treats for the last winter I was with her. She loved seeing the crows hop carefully towards a muffin, then jump back if it didn’t look quite right. They eventually, of course, ate anything she made, and one crow would station himself in the tree by the driveway and call the others when I put the scraps out. The crows were better entertainment for her, then pretty much confined to her chair by the window, than any other type of bird feeder would have been.
Flowers were her passion, one that I inherited, and she grew outstanding roses in Jericho, at one point having a long trench in the ground where she would carefully lay down her climbing rose and cover it so it would survive the winter. In St. Albans she started growing wonderful hybrid daylilies, many of which I have in my gardens today. She didn’t just want to keep this beauty to herself; she potted and sold plants for many years by her driveway meeting many folks along the way including her very special friends Eleanor Fish and her daughter Helen Hader from Maine who continued to come and visit her every year even after she stopped selling flowers.
Helen brought her mother to see mom this summer which was really the highlight of her year. Eleanor and mom would put their heads together as hearing was an issue, and you could see both of their faces just light up as they talked with each other.
Mom also had a wonderful family next door who kept a constant check on her, and were always ready and willing to help out in any way at any time. Mom was fiercely independent and didn’t like to depend on others, sometimes seeming overly wary around people at times but Maureen and Bernadette were so good hearted and compassionate that they overlooked her quirks and she came to love them as well as their boys who took care of her lawn and other little odd jobs for years and we are so grateful to them for this.
Mom accomplished things that nowadays seem to take more energy than most of us can muster; but she sacrificed gladly and I know given the chance she would do it all over again.

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