Cover photo for Carolyn Irene Helsel's Obituary
Carolyn Irene Helsel Profile Photo

Carolyn Irene Helsel

July 12, 1947 — November 26, 2023

Carolyn Irene Helsel, loving wife, mom, grandmother and aunt passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her family at the age of 76 on November 26, 2023.

Carolyn was born in Grayling, Michigan on July 12th, 1947 to John and Mary Galloway in the old Grayling Hospital. Carolyn married the love of her life and best friend Ralph Helsel, Jr. on October 7th, 1965. Together they raised three children and lived a full and wonderful life.

Carolyn had a knack for creativity whether she was in the kitchen, painting or in her garden. She enjoyed her Detroit Tigers, collecting rocks, reading, her coin collection and hunting and fishing. Of all the job titles she held, nothing brought her greater happiness and joy than being a wife, mom and grandmother.

The way Carolyn died is just like she lived; she wrote her own rules, she fought authority and paved her own way. If you told her she could not do it, she would prove to you she could. (The class of 1965 senior class prank lives on today.)

A person dies twice, once when their heart stops beating and when someone says their name for the last time, the family she leaves behind will say her name forever.

Left to speak love of Carolyn and carry her legacy on is: Husband of 58 years, Ralph Helsel, Jr., Son Greg (Nancy), Daughter Kim (late Joe VanNuck), Daughter Janice (Jim Smith), Sister Thelma Galloway and Brother John Galloway, Jr.; Sisters-in-law, Terri (late Ed Papendick), Jackie Helsel, Julie McClain, Marjean (Harry Love) and Pam (Vince Sanders); Grandchildren, Todd (Holly Stamey), Nick Helsel, Amanda Vos, Dillon (Heather Helsel), Joey VanNuck, Parker (Baileigh Smith) and Hunter Smith; Great-grandchildren, Norah Kate, Cameron, Lydia, Isiah and Baby Boy Smith due in January 2024; many nieces, nephews, cousins, family and friends.

Meeting Carolyn at Heaven's Gate are her parents John Galloway, Sr. & Mary Galloway, parents-in-law Ralph & Betty Helsel, Brother-in-Law Ed Papendick, Niece Angie Papendick Moggo and Son-in-Law Joe VanNuck, Sr.

The family will have a graveside service in the spring.

Special thanks to Compassus Hospice Team. Condolences can be shared with Carolyn's family at

Arrangements entrusted to Sorenson-Lockwood Funeral Home.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Carolyn Irene Helsel, please visit our flower store.


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