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John & Helen Neveu

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SOUTH HADLEY

Like a pair of Swan's, it was love at first sight when John asked Helen, in an old-fashioned gesture, for a dance at the State Line Dance Hall in Hoosick Falls, New York while on weekend leave from the Navy with his buddy who was visiting "his" girlfriend.  While dancing, Helen stopped John in the middle of the dance floor and said "you asked me to dance but you don't know how, but I can show you!". The following year, John and Helen were married on September 17, 1955.  After a honeymoon to Niagara Falls, they moved to New Brunswick, Maine for the remainder of John's service in the Navy then lived for a brief period In Holyoke before settling in South Hadley, MA for the remainder of their 63 years of marriage. John E. Neveu, 84, of South Hadley, passed away peacefully at home on March 12, 2019. He was born in Holyoke on April 22, 1934, to the late Rene L. Neveu and Florence (Beaudoin) Neveu, and grew up in the Fairview section of Chicopee. Growing up, John was an alter boy at St. Anne’s Church directly across the street where his mother Florence was the church organist for years. After graduation from Holy Rosary, John enlisted in the United States Navy and traveled the world over.  He attained the rank of Second-Class Aviation Machinist Mate and was awarded the National Defense and Good Conduct Medals of Honor while in the Navy Flight Operations Department while serving during the Korean War. John worked 35 years for Holyoke's American Writing Paper Company's Brown Paper Division and retired from Hampden Paper as an Equipment Repairman. He also served as Recording Secretary for the Local Paper Workers Union. John enjoyed beekeeping, as well as deer and pheasant hunting with his dogs: Dutchess and Tara, also archery and an occasional local turkey shoot. Besides his parents, John was predeceased by a brother Rene H. Neveu. He is survived by two brothers, Florian and Annette Neveu of West Springfield, Roger and Paulette Neveu of Granby; a sister, Lorraine (Neveu) and Ronald Evans of Summerfield FL, and a sister-in-law, Dorothy Neveu of Chicopee. Helen M. Neveu, 84, of South Hadley died peacefully at home on May 19, 2019. Helen was born on March 24, 1935 in Sandgate, Vermont and grew up in East Arlington, Vermont to the late Victor and Amelia (Oininen) Mackey. Helen's parents immigrated from Finland to New York City at the turn of the century and moved to Vermont to be close to her mother's sister. Helen grew up with her brother Toyvia fostered with the Grover family with 9 other children of East Arlington after their mother became too ill to take care of them. Next door was a hometown movie theater keeping everyone abreast of WWII news. Helen started working young at Hale furniture of East Arlington along with local nursing homes caring for the sick. During WWII she helped make bandages for the service men. Growing up poor, she learned sewing and needlepoint and made clothes out of the scrap cloth that accompanied flour and sugar deliveries. Growing up in East Arlington, Helen went to school with the famous Saturday Evening Post artist Norman Rockwell's son Peter. Her brother Toyvia was also a stand-in for one of his paintings in his small town America paintings. Helen waitressed at the Colonial Hilton and for the late Gene Tamburi former owner of the Yankee Pedlar alongside her best friend Eleanor Gagne for many years, where she met actress Jennifer O'Neill while filming "The Reincarnation of Peter Proud". After years of Genealogy search, they discovered family in Finland, Helen's dreams came true traveling to Finland to finally meet long lost aunts, uncles and cousins, along with witnessing the " Northern Lights". Helen was predeceased by her brother Toyvia N. Mackey; a sister, Hilda (Mackey) Minolfi of Rutland, Vermont and a brother, Onni M. Mackey of Manchester, VT.  She is survived by her sister-in-law, Ellen Mackey of West Pawlet, VT. John and Helen were predeceased by their son Michael E. Neveu of Easthampton who is survived by his son Michael Neveu Jr. and his daughter Christy (Neveu) King. They are survived by two sons David R. Neveu of Holyoke and he and Anne Baker's four children Meghan Baker, Alicia Neveu, David John Neveu and Zachary Neveu, their other son, John A. Neveu of Holyoke and their daughter Brenda L. (Neveu) Pilichowski of South Hadley and she and husband Danny's three children Jaryn L. Harrington, Andrew Harrington and Adam Pilachowski. Back in the day, John and Helen enjoyed square dancing, a lifelong passion of camping in New England in their motorhome, especially Cape Cod and favorite spot at St Anne's shrine on the isle La Motte on Lake Champlain, Vermont.  They adored their grandchildren and great grandchildren and Christmas was always a big event. They loved traveling to Hawaii where Helen sat on the lap of the late Don Ho as he sang "tiny bubbles”, Quebec and the Virgin Islands were their favorite escapes.  Hobbies included; Genealogy, Wildflowers, Travel, Gardening, Flea markets, Birdwatching, Canning, Quilting, Needlepoint, and of course growing wild milkweed for monarch butterflies. A Memorial Service will be held at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 1390 Main Street, Agawam on Friday, July 12, 2019 at 3:00 pm. Following the service there will be a Celebration of Life reception at the Log Cabin. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St Jude Children's Hospital or March of Dimes.

 

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