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Helen Elizabeth Dennis | 1929 - 2022


Helen Elizabeth (Beatty) Dennis

October 3, 1929 – April 26, 2022


Helen Elizabeth (Beatty) Dennis, was born in Chico, California on October 3, 1929, the youngest child of Earl and Estella Beatty. Helen passed away on April 26, 2022, in San Rafael, California. Helen was preceded in death by her parents, infant son Michael, husband Jackson and siblings Clifford, Eileen (Boswell) and Dorothy (Mauseth). Helen is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law Jackson Jr. (Marilyn), Robert and James (Carla), as well as granddaughters Anne Peirano (Joseph) and Mary Dennis and grandsons Jack and Matt Dennis. Helen also leaves behind great grandchildren Dante and Luciana Peirano and Gracie Meyers.


Helen’s values and priorities were very much influenced by her childhood on the family ranch in Chico, a property which produced almonds well into the 2010’s. Helen was practical, down-to-earth and a hard worker. Life on the farm taught Helen to relish family life and all it entailed, from preparing home-cooked meals (always trying out new, healthy recipes), to supporting her children, and then her grandchildren in their many endeavors. It was important to Helen that family sit together at the dinner table to talk each day. She loved hearing about everyone’s adventures, as well as those of her children’s friends, whom she welcomed into the household as her own. Helen was a devoted mother. She supported her boys in all they pursued, encouraging them to lead a full life, which she believed would keep them on the straight and narrow.


Helen attended both Chico High School and Chico State College, where she earned her teaching credential and where she met her husband, Jack. Jack would go on to become a senior vice president for CSAA. In 1960, Jack and Helen, with sons Jack Jr., Bob and Jim in tow, moved to San Rafael. Helen loved their new home in the Terra Linda neighborhood and it was in San Rafael that she developed a rich social life. Helen’s friendships were very important to her. She regularly connected with friends by phone and through their many lunches out. In later years, Helen also enjoyed time on her computer, where she continued to connect regularly with family and friends.


Beyond her full family and social life, Helen worked for over 50 years as a volunteer for Sunny Hills Children’s Services. She was also a member of the Marin Home and Garden Club and participated in Marin Republican Women Federated. And Helen enjoyed playing regularly in a bunco group.


Helen was renowned for her sense of humor (a trait shared by her husband and sons) and for her beautiful smile. Helen will be remembered as an exceptional and loving mother, wife and grandmother, a cherished friend and neighbor, and as a caring advocate for children in need. In later years, when she wrote down thoughts for her family, she noted this: “I am thankful for learning life’s lessons from farm life which instilled in me an enduring work ethic.”


For all of their support in the final days, Helen’s family would like to express sincere gratitude to the doctors and staff at Marin General Hospital and at the Smith Ranch Nursing Facility. Special thanks are also extended to Helen’s personal physician, Dr. William McAllister, and her caregivers, including Vika Seru.


Per Helen’s wishes, a family-only graveside service will be held on Friday, May 27, 2022 at Mount Tamalpais Cemetery where her ashes will reside next to her beloved husband, Jackson.


Helen requested that donations be made to her most important charity, Sunny Hills Services, now called Side By Side. Donations may be made online at http://www.shcg.org/ or mailed to: Side By Side, 300 Sunny Hills Dr., San Anselmo, CA, 94960. Those donating online can leave a tribute description on the gift form.

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