Dedicated volunteer

Published in the May 11, 2018 edition

MELROSE — Helen Marie (Hirtle) Hanson, 97, of Melrose, died peacefully surrounded by family on May 2, 2018. Helen was born in East Boston on November 27, 1920. She was the first of six children of the late Frank and Anna Belle Harper Hirtle. Helen grew up in Malden and attended the Linden School, Brown Junior High and Malden High School. Helen also went to business school in Malden. At Malden High School she was a sharpshooter on the championship rifle team.  

Helen worked in the First National Store’s warehouse in Somerville as a packer for several years. She worked in Woburn for Sylvania and then went on to GTE Labs in Waltham where she became an executive secretary until she retired. GTE is now known as Verizon.  

Helen was also a member of the “Grand” of Mass in her younger years. She was also a member of the Military Order of the Cootie of the United States. Helen was a past commander of the American Legion in Malden. She joined the VFW Auxiliary in Malden Post #139 under Norma Avola. When she moved to Melrose, Helen transferred to VFW Auxillary #2394. She is a past President of Harold O’Young District 18 and VFW Auxiliary 2394. She was past commander of DAV 120 for 10 years.  

She enjoyed volunteering at the Chelsea Soldiers Home with her friends from the DAV. They also volunteered at the Bedford VA. Helen was a member of AARP and she was a member of the Melrose Emblem Club #89 as Vice President under Marie Ryan. She was still a Vice President of the Melrose Emblem Group and the VFW 2394 Post in Melrose. She attended meetings of the veterans in Melrose at Memorial Hall on Friday mornings, and she loved going to Bingo at the Milano Center.  

Helen was also a member of the Melrose Catholic Womens’ Club and a long time volunteer at the Melrose Wakefield Hospital gift shop and the Whidden Hospital in Everett. In her retirement years she volunteered at the Melrose City Hall in the Building Inspector’s Office.  

Helen was a resident of Melrose since 1953 and was very proud of Melrose. She was a founding member of Incarnation Church. She was the CCD teacher for the first class of young boys and they met in the upper church. She attended Mass Friday mornings and Sunday mornings.  

Helen was the beloved wife of the late William Lawrence Hanson. The loving mother of William Hanson Jr. and his wife Dale of Indianapolis, Indiana and Pamela M. Schofield and her husband Stephen of Melrose. Helen had three sisters, Arlene Comeau, Mildred Rexford and Joan Nicol. She had a step- sister Agnes Hirtle Naas. Helen had two brothers, Harold William Hirtle and the late Frank Hirtle Jr. She was the grandmother of Melissa Schofield Baur and her husband August, Marybeth Rains and her husband Dave, Valerie Hanson, Erik Hanson, Samantha Kuznacic and her husband Brenton, and Ashley Hanson and her husband Scott Stenzinger. Helen was a proud great-grandmother to Grace Baur.

Visiting hours were held on Sunday, May 6, at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 W. Foster St., Melrose. Funeral Procession from the Gately Funeral Home was on Monday, May 7, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at Incarnation Church, 425 Upham St., Melrose. Relatives and friends were respectfully invited to attend. Interment was private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project PO Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8517. To leave an online message of condolence please visit