Life Story / Obituary
As her family and friends can attest, Helen Davidson truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She valued her loved ones above all else, and nothing brought her greater joy than spending time with family. A source of encouragement for those around her, Helen was a shining example of kindness and hard work, even when it wasn’t easy. Deeply loved, Helen will be dearly missed by all who were blessed to know and love her.
Helen was born to Wayne and Edith (Deming) Benton on August 2, 1922 in Alto, Michigan. Growing up, Helen was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised on the family farm in Bowne Township, Kent County alongside her siblings Vernor, Russell, Larry, and Doris. After graduating from Hastings High School in 1939, Helen moved to the “Big City” of Kalamazoo and began working as a waitress for Holly’s Restaurant.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Helen when she met Bobby Davidson who was a musician and frequented the restaurant after his gigs. Helen would often wait on him and his friends, and she quickly found herself falling for his charming sense of humor. In time, their relationship blossomed into something much deeper. Helen and Bobby were married in 1942 and the newlyweds began their lives together in San Antonio, Texas where Bobby joined the Army Air Corps and Helen worked as a secretary on the base. No matter where life took them, Bobby and Helen were sure to dance and, when they took to the dance floor, people looked on with smiles and fascination.
Following the end of WWII in 1945, Helen and Bobby settled into a new home in Kalamazoo and started their family with the births of their two daughters, Deborah and Julie. Helen took pride in her role as a mother and devoted herself to raising her children. With Bobby’s mother living with them year-round and Helen’s mother staying with them six months every year, the Davidson household was always bustling with activity. As her daughters grew older, Helen began working as a secretary for the campus bookstore at Western Michigan University where she would continue to work until her retirement. Skillfully balancing the raising of her two daughters, caring for two mothers, and working full time, Helen gave credit to her resilient work ethic and kind heart. She considered herself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
Of all the things Helen loved in life, she treasured her family above all else. Together, her family enjoyed many trips to South Haven, Michigan and Sanibel Island, Florida. Special occasions were celebrated with true style, notably Helen and Bobby’s 50th and 70th wedding anniversaries, with family and friends. Helen was thrilled to become a grandmother later in life and loved being involved in her grandchildren’s lives as much as she could.
In her free time, Helen enjoyed bird watching, shopping and, after moving to The Fountains, being an active member of the Welcome Committee. She was an avid reader and recipe collector and often said she could read her recipes as if they were a novel. She was also an active member of the Oshtemo United Methodist Church. Dancing to big band music was also a source of enjoyment, especially when accompanied by the Bobby Davidson Orchestra.
While Helen and Bobby enjoyed a special life together, after he died in 2012 she was introduced to new experiences after meeting Ken Long. The pair quickly shared a special connection all their own. The couple enjoyed Kalamazoo Symphony concerts, live performances at Miller Auditorium, trips to local vineyards for an afternoon of wine tasting, and other activities through The Fountains community.
It’s easy to see Helen’s unwavering strength and unconditional love for her family. She truly understood the value of hard work, responsibility, and showing kindness to others. Though she will be deeply missed, Helen leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
Helen Davidson, age 98, died peacefully at Rose Arbor Hospice on June 22, 2021. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert “Bobby” Davidson; 3 brothers: Vernor Benton, Russell Benton, and Larry Benton; and her sister: Doris Henning. Surviving are her daughters: Deborah (Akira Gomi) Davidson and Julie (Kim) Dadlani; grandchildren: Megan Dadlani, Michael (Marianne Liljenquist) Dadlani, Erika Gomi, and Maya Gomi; and her significant other, Kenneth Long. Cremation has taken place. Private services will take place at a later date. Visit Helen’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may read her Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Arrangements by Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900.