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Helen's Story

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Helen Maxine Smith, 93, of Peshawbestown, passed away Saturday, March 18, 2017 at home with her loving family.
Helen's spirit name was "Kookgeesh" and she was born March 15, 1924 in Northport, the daughter of Thomas and Marion (Nayatushing) Antoine. She married Joseph Edward Smith who preceded her in death on Aug. 14, 1996.
Helen spent 40 years as a teacher's aide in the Chicago Public School system. She was very active in the Chicago Native Community throughout her 50 years there. In Chicago, Helen was a founding member of the St. Augustine Center for American Indians and the American Indian Center.
She loved and promoted her native language and she especially loved teaching her grandson the language. Helen was one of the last to speak the native language in the Odawa Mzhiganiing (Northport) dialect.
Helen loved nature and the beauty of Northern Michigan. She loved to pick sweet grass and all who knew her called her Nokomis, which means grandmother.
Helen is survived by her three children, Barbara St. Germaine, Arlene Smith, Gary James (Anna) Smith; 17 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; and six great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her siblings, Frances Wonegeshik, Elijah Wonegeshik and Josephine Wonegeshik.
Visitation will be held today, March 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay. The funeral service will be held Wednesday, March 22 at 1 p.m. at the Northport Indian Mission Church. Rev. Samuel McClellan will officiate.
Please share condolences with Helen's family at www.martinson.info.
Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral & Cremation Services of Leelanau.
Published on March 21, 2017
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