Helen Irish Whitford, daughter of Eliza Maria Green and Asa Stillman Coon, was born at Berlin, N. Y., May 26, 1852, and died at her home in Farina, Ill., April 19, 1931.
Her brothers and sisters were D. C. Coon, Ann, Ella, Eliza, Ray, and one half-brother, Clifford Coon. Ray and Clifford of Farina are the survivors of the family. When a girl of thirteen years she came with the family to Farina where they settled on a farm. Helen attended the McLain School, then for a time a select school at Farina taught by Rev. O. U. Whitford, and later a district school under the direction of Dr. Arnold C. Davis, Sr. She had a very receptive mind and continued her education through reading until failing health made this impossible. It was a pleasure to visit with her because she was well informed on many subjects and thoroughly alive to many of the issues of the day. Knowledge to her was something to be striven for and used for the uplift of mankind.
While still in her teens she was converted in a revival conducted by Elder C. M. Lewis who baptized her and received her into the Seventh Day Baptist Church at Farina.
June 14, 1879, she was united in marriage to Edgar Irish. Two children were born to this union: Roy, who died in infancy; and Harold who resides in Silverton, Ore. Upon her marriage she became the step-mother of two small children: Ernest, now of Boulder, Colo.; and Bertha Potter, now of Atlanta, Ga. In 1886 the family moved to Hammond, La., where they became charter members of the Seventh Day Baptist Church of that place and where Mrs. Irish retained her membership until the time of her death. Her husband died there in 1899. The wife continued to reside in Hammond with the exception of a few years spent in Milton, Wis., where her son Harold attended school.
In 1910 she was married to E. M. Whitford of Farina, after which Farina again became the family home. Mr. Whitford died in 1928.
Mrs. Whitford lived a long, useful and lovable life. She was a good mother and endeared herself to the sons and daughters of Edgar Irish and of E. M. Whitford by former marriages, who respectfully called her mother and who think of her today as a blessed memory.
The writer of this sketch has known her only in the closing years of her life. In these years she was a good home-maker, faithful and constant in her care for her husband in his declining years. Conversation with her was a delight. She was of cheerful disposition and charitable where the faults of others were concerned. She bore patiently the trials of her last sickness and again and again expressed her appreciation for services rendered by her family. She trusted God implicitly and in a conversation with the writer during her sickness said a few days more or less made no difference for she was ready to go.
She is survived by her son Harold; her brothers, Ray and Clifford; her step-children, Ernest Irish and Bertha Potter, and Orlo, Max, and Elmer Whitford, Mrs. Millie Crosley and Mrs. Edith Davis of Farina, Mrs. Mary Ware of St. Andrews Bay, Fla., and Mrs. Lois Torres of Jackson, Mich. These with her grandchildren and other relatives and friends mourn their loss.
So when the iron portals shut behind us.
And life forgets us in its noise and whirl;
Visions that shunned the glaring noonday find us,
And glimmering starlight shows the gates of pearl.
Funeral services were conducted from the residence Tuesday morning at ten o'clock by the Rev. C. L. Hill, assisted by a male quartet, and burial was made in the Farina cemetery. C. L. H.