Mrs. Helen Anna Van Patten Nellis, "Listener of History" of Palatine Bridge, died peacefully on Wednesday, May 21, 2014, surrounded by her family. Born on August 19, 1924, in McKinley, NY, she was the last living child of the late Otto J. and Carrie J. Van Valkenburgh Van Patten.
Helen attended the one-room schoolhouse near her home, where she was introduced to the history of her country and the world, which she pursued all of her life. History was her passion and geography was her favorite subject. Helen often remarked, "How can you see the world if you don't know where you are going?"
She graduated from Canajoharie High School in 1941 and studied all the rest of her life. Helen was married to Curtis S. Nellis on January 15, 1943. That union lasted 54 years, until his passing on January 1, 1997. She was also predeceased by her son, Brian C. Nellis; and her siblings, Deline Van Patten, Elizabeth Ricken, Roger Van Patten and Robert Van Patten.
Survivors include her son, Laurence Nellis, and wife Debbie; four grandchildren, Kimberly (Bryan) Bivins, Christopher (Suzie) Nellis, Jason (Carly) Nellis and Jessica (B.J.) Wilfeard; eight great grandchildren, Christopher Nellis Jr., Grace Elizabeth Nellis, Danielle McDuffy, Allysa An Nellis, Joshua Curtis Nellis, Trey Wilfeard, Hunter Matthew Wilfeard, Tyler Wilfeard; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Funeral services for Helen will be held on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, at 1 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, State Highway 10, Palatine Bridge, NY, with the Rev. Zachary Labagh officiating. Interment will follow in the Fort Plain Cemetery.
Relatives and friends are invited to call on Tuesday prior to the service beginning at 11 a.m. at the church. Memorial contributions in Helen's name may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church, PO Box 238, Palatine Bridge, NY 13428.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Lenz & Betz Funeral Home, 69 Otsego Street, Canajoharie, NY 13317. Please visit the online guestbook at www.brbsfuneral.com.