Helen Marie Bendes

Helen Marie Bendes of Adrian, Mich. passed away on December 16, 2020 after a brief bout with Covid-19 related double pneumonia. She was born in Saginaw to Lawrence and Anna (Pirochta) Bendes on January 19, 1940. Helen attended Saginaw High School and went on to study at Central Michigan University where she was part of the marching band. She received a bachelor’s degree in music. Helen played in the Saginaw Symphony Orchestra for a bit.  

She leaves behind her brother Larry and his wife Betty Bendes, four nieces and one nephew. Helen loved her brother and his family which took her back to the Bay area many times a year to enjoy his family and trips on his boat on Lake Huron.  

After teaching briefly at Ashley Schools, Helen was hired into the Tecumseh school district where she taught vocal music at all school levels in many of the school buildings. The accordion was her instrument of choice while teaching, though she played clarinet and piano, too.  Also, while in Tecumseh she helped the teacher’s union to come to contract settlements. After her retirement at age 55, Helen stayed home to take care of her mother, but she also became active in other musical opportunities. She played for rehearsals and even some performances for plays at both the Croswell Opera House and the Tecumseh Civic Auditorium. Helen was a member for over 22 years in the noon Adrian Rotary, where she played piano for their song sessions and was a 5+ Paul Harris Fellow. She belonged to the Matinee Musical Group for many years and was an active member of both the Irish Hills and Raisin River Sweet Adeline’s International.  

Helen was a longtime member of Hope Lutheran Church of Adrian where she served on many boards, accompanied the choir on the piano and played the piano for the New Song Worship service. She was a master of transposing music to fit the key needed for an accompaniment or to fit a vocal range need. Helen loved her Lord and gladly, when able, was a reader at services.  

Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held for Helen on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021, at 11 a.m. at Hope Lutheran Church with the Rev. Paul Herter officiating. A graveside service will be held for Helen in the Saginaw/Bay area at a date yet to be determined. Memorial contributions and letters to the family can be sent to Hope Lutheran Church at 5625 W. U.S. 223 Hwy., Adrian, MI 49221.

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