Helen E. Luzzi

The strongest and most amazing warrior we know, Helen Eileen Pelkey Luzzi, 75, of Alice Hyde Assisted Living Program in Malone, passed away March 7, at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh after a short illness. She left her Earthly bounds to meet our Heavenly Father, his Son, our family and friends. We have no doubt all were waiting with open arms as she made her way home to them. She is dancing in heaven.

Helen was born on July 20, 1947, in Saranac Lake, the third of seven children born to the late Norman and Helen (Walton) Pelkey. She graduated from St. Pius X High School in 1965, attended Clinton Community College soon after, then traveled the world for a bit before returning to Saranac Lake to live for good.

She raised two beautiful daughters, Stephanie (Douglas Martin) Luzzi and Melanie (Gary) Kelleher, showered her grandsons Cody and Zachary Kelleher with love, sprinkled adoration amongst her many nieces and nephews, cared immensely for her sisters and brothers, and cherished her friends as if they were her family.

She survived a life of mental illness, two bouts of breast cancer and a few major surgeries to mend broken bones and body parts that weren’t cooperating. She fought through the heartache of losing her parents, overcame relationship woes and trudged through many other obstacles that would be too much for most people. She did it all with amazing strength and stoicism, her kindness rarely fading, her smile seldom faltering, her laughter scarcely wavering. We should all be so strong.

Those close to her knew that she loved to sing and dance as often as she could, she never met a stranger, and she found joy in making people smile. To honor her life, dance whenever you can, sing off-key carpool karaoke all the time, talk to strangers as if you’ve known them a lifetime, and crack jokes at every opportunity to make people smile.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Norman Pelkey and her brother-in-law Paul Gibson. She is survived by her daughters and their husbands, her grandsons, her siblings Jackie Olsen, Fran Pelkey, Kathy Pelkey, Sandy Bickford and Shelley Gibson, a slew of nieces and nephews, her Aunt Jerry, many cousins, and her dear friend Maurine.

Her daughters wish to give thanks to their Aunt Sandy, their rock, for the tremendous amount of love, care and support that she gave to Helen over the years; to their Uncle Fran for taking time to bring their mother out on excursions; and to their “sister from another mister” Tara Pandolph Peary for being such a great “daughter” to their mother when the miles were too many.

Her family also wants to give thanks to the women and men of the Alice Hyde Assisted Living Program in Malone, who became an extension of our family during the almost eight years that Helen lived there. The love and support they showed her was above and beyond. They will forever be in our hearts.

Helen will be buried with her mother and father at St. Bernard’s Cemetery in Saranac Lake the morning of July 14, after which her life will be celebrated in the grandest of ways. Bring your dancing shoes, and warm up those voices.

Funeral arrangements are in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you donate to the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department in her name. She loved our first responders.