Woodbury-Carolyn “Lyn” Elin Hellwinkle, 82 passed away peacefully, at St. Mary’s
Hospital, care of Vitas Hospice, on Monday, March 14th, 2022 with her son Don by
her side. Lyn was born April 17th, 1939, in Medford, Oregon, to the late Margaret
Genevieve (Oxford) and Clare Eli Van Winkle.
When she was young she moved to California with her mother and attended
school in Culver City, CA. Lyn spent many of her childhood summers in the
Oregon countryside, visiting with her Aunt Lee Ella, Uncle Carl and cousins,
Stephen and Karen. Their days were spent camping, fishing, picking wild berries
and canning them into jellies and jams.
During her school years at Culver City, High School she met a handsome sailor
who was stationed at the Naval base in Long Beach, CA. Not long after meeting, it
quickly became apparent that this sailor, Ronald “Ron” Fredrick Hellwinkle, was
her soulmate and would become the love of her life. When his time at the naval
base ended, Ron returned home to Woodbury, CT and Lyn stayed in Culver City to
finish school. They stayed in touch through many, many romantic love letters and
phone calls. One story her family will always fondly remember is when Ron called
Lyn and proposed to her over the phone - and Lyn always laughing about how Ron
went to the post office and mailed Lyn her engagement ring. After graduation Lyn
made the big move from California to Woodbury, CT where she and Ron were
married, began a family, and shared a love story that lasted more than 60 years.
Lyn has missed her Ronnie terribly since he passed away in 2016, and knowing
that she and Ron are now reunited, brings us all comfort.
Always the hard worker, she provided childcare for others in her home, sold
curtains and slip-covers, and worked in the cafeteria at Mitchell Elementary
school to help provide for her family and make ends meet, all while caring for her
two young sons. She later became a Matron for the school maintenance
department at Nonnewaug High School. Once her children were grown, she went
to work for Waterbury Hospital in the Housekeeping Department where she was
promoted to Housekeeping Supervisor and made many friends during her 19-year
tenure. She was later hired at The Village at East Farms, as Supervisor of
Housekeeping until she retired in 2006.
One day in the mid ‘90s a letter showed up addressed to Lyn from Social Security
saying that an unknown relative was trying make contact and provided their
information. Well it turns out it was a sister that Lyn never knew she had! Lyn’s
Dad wasn’t around much during her childhood and she last saw him when she
was seven. Turns out old Clare Van Winkle was busy over in England during his
tour of Naval duty and had fathered a daughter in the UK. Diane and her husband
Neville ended up coming to the US several times and Lyn and Ron visited Europe
with them as well.
Lyn was always thinking of others and a natural at community service. She
became a Cub Scout Den Mother in Woodbury Pack 480 for both of her sons. She
served as an EMT for the Woodbury Ambulance Association from 1979-1993,
where she held the offices of Secretary, Vice President and eventually President
from 1985-1987. More recently she led and volunteered for Friends in Service
Here, a non-profit organization known as “FISH” that provided transportation for
those needing rides to doctor appointments. She never stopped volunteering
even during the pandemic. An avid sewer and knitter, she taught her daughter-in-
law Monique how to sew cloth masks for Connecticut nursing homes during
shortages and together they made over 300 masks for nursing home staff
members. She also became known for her amazing ‘scrubbies’- washable and re-
useable scouring pads for pots and pans which she made for nursing home staff
members to show appreciation for all their hard work during the pandemic.
If you were to ask Lyn what her greatest accomplishment was, she would have
told you it was raising her two sons, Don and Mike Hellwinkle. There was nothing
she loved more than spending quality time with family and friends. She always
enjoyed the great outdoors and cherished family camping and fishing trips. Her
husband Ron and sons were also avid hunters, and she enjoyed making delicious
meals for everyone with the fish and wild game they brought home. Lyn was fond
of listening to the stories of their hunting adventures around the dinner table, and
eventually she declared “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Which is exactly
what she did! She got her first hunting license in 1979 and started bringing home
the game and telling stories herself. She also developed a love for bowling and
was a member of the Cheshire Senior Bowling League up to her passing.
Left to honor her legacy are her sons, Donald (Monique) Hellwinkle and Michael
Hellwinkle of Woodbury, CT; grandchildren Michael Hellwinkle Jr., Matthew
Hellwinkle, their mother Susan Pappas, grandson Zack Hellwinkle, her sister Diane
Reeves of England and many close friends who will miss her dearly.
A celebration of life will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 294 Main ST South,
Woodbury, CT at 10am on Saturday, April 9
. To honor Lyn’s memory, in lieu of
flowers, donations may be made to The Woodbury Ambulance Association, 25
Quassuk Rd., Woodbury, CT 06798.
To leave an online condolence please visit www.munsonloveterefuneralhome.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Carolyn Hellwinkle, please visit our floral store.
Woodbury Ambulance Association
P.O. Box 581, Woodbury CT 06798