Given, Helen Parshall

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Helen Marie Parshall Given, 84, of Charlottesville, Va., passed away on Sunday, September 19, 2021, at Morningside of Charlottesville, where she had resided since late 2019. She was born in Detroit, Mich., on November 12, 1936, to Theron “Pete” Edward Parshall and Agnes Marie Barron Parshall.

Preceding her in death were her life partner and husband, Arthur Paul Given, and her siblings Eleanor Skufis, Sam Parshall, Dick Parshall, Marian Ellis, and Dorothy Dalton.

She is survived by her sister, Irene Parshall Gaylord of Lansing, Mich.; her three children, Kellie Weislogel (Eric) of Philadelphia, Pa., Joan Wages (Don) of Floyd, Va., and Paul Given (Julia) of Charlottesville, Va., and eight grandchildren whom she loved and nurtured, Lucas Cannizzaro (Larissa) of Pittsburgh, Pa., Elisa Klein (Jeff) of Philadelphia, Pa., Nolan Wages of Minneapolis, Minn., Jackson Wages of Floyd, Va., Margaret Given and Helen Given of Washington, D.C., Michael Given of Boston, Mass., and AJ Given of Charlottesville, Va. She is also survived by her great-grandchildren, Arianna and Santino Cannizzaro, and Nola, Rooney, and Azure Klein.

Helen grew up in Detroit Michigan, the sixth of seven children, and upon graduation from high school joined the U.S. Navy for three years, at the end of which she met the love of her life, Art Given, while both were stationed at the Norfolk Naval Base. Helen and Art married in Ocean View, Va., on May 3, 1958.

During their early years together, Helen worked part-time and was the primary caregiver for their young children, while Art worked and studied at Penn State. While living in Roanoke, as their children began entering school, Helen took up studies at Virginia Western and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Radford University.

Never ones to let the moss grow under their feet, Helen and Art lived many places, Roanoke, Charlottesville, Floyd, and Wintergreen, Va., Johnstown, Altoona, Bellefonte, and Pittsburgh, Pa., Mission Viejo, Calif., Detroit, Mich., and Cleveland, Ohio.

Along the way Helen engaged in each community with vigor. As a Special Education teacher in Johnstown, she opened her classroom on snow days so that parents could go to work, and hosted students at her home to provide parental respite time. She also ran for a local Council position in Southmont, campaigning to preserve stately trees and the neighborhood culture threatened by a proposed street-widening project. In Wintergreen/ Nelson County, Va., Helen became a Master Gardener, helping neighbors and friends start and maintain home gardens. In Charlottesville she worked full-time for several years at UVA Medical Center and was involved in social action work through the Unitarian Universalist Congregation. While in Floyd, Va., she volunteered at a Healthy Kids summer day camp and lobbied representatives in Washington, D.C. on environmental issues.

A born organizer, Helen led family get-togethers that always included outdoor activities, child-friendly games and crafts, singing, and sometimes parades. Music was central to any event she planned. Helen played the piano most of her life, and at Christmas time she relished gathering family members around the piano to sing and play other instruments with her.

While living at Morningside, Helen was fortunate to be able to carry on the themes most central to her life: music, the outdoors, movement, and supporting community well-being. She decorated the common areas for seasonal and special events, gardened on the patio, assisted with group games, danced and sang with others, walked outside daily, and brought cheer to other residents.

In lieu of flowers, Helen’s family asks that you donate to the Alzheimer’s Association. We’d also like to express our deep gratitude to Brandy Maupin and the entire staff at Morningside of Charlottesville for the love and care they gave Helen.

Service details will be posted on the Cremation Society of Virginia website soon.

Crematory Services of Virginia