Helen Virginia Poe Goodrich passed away on March 7 at Atria Darien. She was five weeks shy of her 101st birthday. Helen was born in Tacoma, Wash. on April 12, 1916.
She was known for her radiant smile, sense of fun and a zest for life. Her greatest joy came from connections with her family and the many lifelong friends she made on her life’s journey.
The most important influences in her life were her family, love of people, nature and her strong Presbyterian faith. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest she developed a love of the outdoors beginning with camping trips with her family, then from her many years of girl scouting.
Helen graduated from Tacoma’s Stadium High School and the University of Washington. In 1939 she was hired to work in the payroll department of Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding in Tacoma, Wash. There she met the love of her life, James F. Goodrich and they had their first date skiing on Mt. Rainier.
Helen and Jim married on Aug. 17, 1941 at the start of World War ll. Children Jim, John and Nancy soon followed and Helen devoted herself to them and all their activities while her husband continued his shipbuilding career.
This took them to Seattle, Los Angeles and ultimately Bath, Maine where Jim became President and CEO of Bath Iron Works. In spite of the dramatic move from California to Maine, Helen fully engaged in this new life with her enduring spirit of adventure. During those years she volunteered at Bath Hospital, the Women’s Board of Maine Medical Center and the Junior League. She also remained a lifelong member of P.E.O.
Helen also loved puttering in her garden and playing golf. Each summer Helen and Jim could be found sailing the coast of Maine often including their children and grandchildren on these memorable trips. She was a terrific first mate in all types of seas.
In 1981 as they began their retirement together in Maine, Jim was asked to join the Reagan administration as the Under Secretary of Navy. They enjoyed Washington D.C. so much they stayed another 17 years, commuting between Maine and Washington. In 1982, Helen was made an “honorary submariner” and served as the sponsor at the launching of the USS Portsmouth in Groton.
In 2004 Helen and Jim moved back to Maine permanently where they continued to live in their home in Cumberland Foreside and then Ocean View At Falmouth which allowed them to spend wonderful times with their son John, his wife Corey and their children.
After Jim’s death Helen moved to Darien to be near daughter Nancy, her husband Terry and their family. In these last years she relished her time with loving grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Helen was pre-deceased by her husband, mother, father and brother, Robert Burns Poe Jr. She is survived by son James P. Goodrich and wife Marilyn of St. Helen, Ore.; Dr. John F. Goodrich and wife Corey of Cumberland, Maine and daughter Nancy G. McGraw and her husband Terry McGraw of Darien.
She also leaves grandchildren Shane, Chad and Travis Goodrich, Kate Day (Adam), Ryan Goodrich (Mary), Dary Goodrich (Cat), Whit McGraw (Camilla) and Megan Mozingo (Clayton) as well as 12 great-grandchildren, brother David Poe and brother in-law William Goodrich. Helen kept a special lifelong friendship with Charlotte Hutton of Seattle, Wash.
The family would like to thank Helen’s wonderful caregivers in Connecticut, especially Ann, Brigitte, Charmaine, Christine, Keight and Woodland. The family would also like to thank Homepartners in Maine. They made the last years of her life full of laughter and loving care.
A private family memorial service is planned at the Noroton Presbyterian Chapel on March, 26 in Darien. A summer celebration of her life will take place in Maine where she will be buried next to her husband in Falmouth, Maine.
Those who desire may make donations in Helen’s memory to:
Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland
217 Westbrook St.
Westbrook, ME 04092
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Attn: Development
875 N. Randolph St Ste 225
Arlington, VA 22203