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1928 Helen 2024

Helen Louise McDermid

April 24, 1928 — January 31, 2024

Madison, WI

Helen Louise Weber Miller McDermid, age 95, of Madison, Wisconsin, peacefully passed away, surrounded by her loving family on January 31, 2024 of natural causes. Helen was born on April 24, 1928, to Swiss and German immigrants, John and Elisabetha (Kessler) Weber in Lodi, Columbia, Wisconsin. She graduated from Lodi High School in 1946 and went on to graduate from the Patricia Stevens Modeling and Finishing School for Young Women. In 1946, she met Joe Edward Miller and they wed on July 26, 1947, going on to have five children, Cheryl, Barbara, Patricia, Robert “Bobby”, and Mary Louise.

Helen was destined to be a light in this world and for her family. In her early 20’s she was voted the most beautiful girl in Wisconsin and life just moved forward from there. In 1952, while working at the Swiss Colony in Monroe, Wisconsin she met her lifetime best friend, Gloria Hendrickson. Not entirely thrilled with their lot in life, they decided to plan a new strategy. Over coffee and Dobosh Torte, they decided to become a performing team, calling themselves “The Pretenders”. With support from their families, they began to develop their performance and marketing strategy. It wasn’t long before they were very well-known in the Midwest and ultimately had an offer to be a frontline act for Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas. With young families to care for, they declined but continued to be in demand until the mid-1960’s. We were so proud of them!

On March 5, 1964, Helen’s husband Joe was hit by an Illinois-Central train, near Madison, and he survived with lifetime injuries. As it happened, Helen was pregnant with their fifth child, a daughter named Mary Louise. Yet, somehow, she found the strength to manage through a 2-year ordeal while he was hospitalized. During that time, she also stepped in, trained for her insurance licenses and took over Joe’s New York Life Insurance Company business to maintain the family’s income. She was the first licensed female agent of the Capital Branch Office in Madison. As if that wasn’t enough, she won award after award for her sales achievements. Once Joe was well enough to return, to work, Helen stepped back and decided to take on her own sales business. She first began with Jafra Cosmetics and won many awards for her accomplishments. She later turned to PartyLite Gifts and became a Regional Manager with many successes as well. Sadly, Joe and Helen lost their only son, Bobby, at age 16, due to injuries he sustained from a mechanical car failure while driving, on September 26, 1969. They divorced in 1972, yet they remained friends through the years. In 1973, Helen remarried Robert “Bob” McDermid, who remained her loving partner until he passed away on April 25, 2005 from brain cancer. Helen continued her sales career well into her late ‘70’s and finally retired to enjoy her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Helen was predeceased by her parents, John and Elisabeth Weber, sisters, Elisabeth “Betty” Barbian, Gertrude “Trudy” Rockwell, brother Robert “Bob” Weber, and son, Robert “Bobby” Miller, ex-husband, Joe Miller, and husband, Robert McDermid. She is survived by her daughters, Cheryl Borst (Tom), Barbara Brown (Marty Prescott), Patricia Almond (Randy), Mary Louise Garnett (John), grandchildren, Betsy Rot (Craig), Barbara Borst (Tony Gray), Quentin R. Brown III (Amy), Robert Brown (Ashley), Jenna McCasland (Matthew), Mitchell Garnett (Kelley), Joe Garnett, and Christina Garnett. She is also survived by 16 Great-Grandchildren that she simply adored.

There will be a Celebration of her Life on Sunday, May 12 at 1PM at Holy Wisdom Monastery, 4200 County Road M in Middleton. In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the University of Wisconsin Arboretum Endowment Fund. https://secure.supportuw.org/give/?id=E0BE44FE-923E-468A-B1CE-6B3F77714561

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Sunday, May 12, 2024

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