Helen Athena Zamplas thumbnail

Helen Athena Zamplas

April 9, 1921 - February 8, 2019

Helen Athena Zamplas, 97, died Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 in Carolina Village in Hendersonville, N.C.

 

Born April 9, 1921 in Highland Park, Mich., she grew up in Dearborn, Mich. She was preceded in death by her devoted husband of 55 years, George Zamplas, in 2011; by her parents Michael and Marie Lagos; sisters A…read more

Helen Athena Zamplas, 97, died Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 in Carolina Village in Hendersonville, N.C.

 

Born April 9, 1921 in Highland Park, Mich., she grew up in Dearborn, Mich. She was preceded in death by her devoted husband of 55 years, George Zamplas, in 2011; by her parents Michael and Marie Lagos; sisters Angeline Vellis, Minerva Valentine and Gaye Vasilas; niece Joyce Valentine Kenney, and Mary Jane Janke and Emily Jaros who were her closest friends in Michigan.

 

She is survived by her loving son Pete Zamplas of Flat Rock; nieces Jan Valentine Sullivan and Jeanette D’Agostino of Michigan and Pat Cosgrove of St. Louis, nephews James Valentine of Capistrano Beach, Calif. and James Vasilas of Texas; grand-niece Elizabeth Kenney of Rhode Island; several grand nephews; fellow retired Michigan teachers John Miejski and Tony Taddeo of Hendersonville and Helen Gallagher of Dearborn; and Bob Grosso and other longtime friends in Henderson County, N.C.

 

Helen taught in 1942-82 in Dearborn then Livonia, Mich. She taught fifth grade. She was a remedial reading specialist for a dozen years, armed with a specialist’s degree with learning disabilities certification.

 

Her master’s in education was from Michigan. She also studied at UCLA, and Columbia in NYC. Helen was an all-A student and frequent spelling bee champion, and lifelong avid reader. Her maternal grandfather was the school superintendent for much of the Greek island of Crete, in the late 1800s.  Helen was of the Greek Orthodox Christian Faith.

 

She grew up in The Great Depression, when she periodically spotted Henry Ford driving in Dearborn. Bolstering the WWII homefront, Helen and other teachers voluntarily distributed ration coupon books and enticed students to grow “victory gardens.”

 

She also volunteered in Henderson County, since moving there in 1982. She tutored reading in Balfour Elementary, started Maria’s Fund college scholarships via the Community Foundation, and aided the Safelight local shelter for battered women and Hendersonville Rescue Mission. She was a Michigan Club founding board member, and its historian. Helen and George were adept in ballroom, Greek and square dancing.  They played bridge, traveled, and were Flat Rock Playhouse season ticket-goers.

 

They exemplified proficiency, reliability, dedication, solid values and budgeting, upward mobility, patience, perseverance and deferred gratification.

 

Helen was an exceptional seamstress and cook — like her hard-working mother Maria. Her father Mike “The Bear” Lagos poured steel in Ford’s huge Rouge plant foundry.

 

Helen’s nephew Jim Valentine grew up near her, in Metro Detroit. Like many, he recalls how “she was always fun to be around, as she was animated in the way she expressed herself.” Helen was known for grins and chuckles of her own, and which she sparked in others.

 

People might best honor Helen by contributing to Maria’s Fund (Fund ID: ZSCH), via this Community Foundation of Henderson County online link:

https://www.cfhcforever.org/Give_Now?fid=38H%2feht0NA4%3d&fdesc=8cgzMN8FzvQRRQT7WFHzXQ%3d%3d

 

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