Helen Xenelis Hamilton Profile Photo
1951 Helen 2024

Helen Xenelis Hamilton

April 14, 1951 — March 27, 2024

Cranford, NJ

Helen Hamilton Obituary 

April 14, 1951 – March 27, 2024 

 

Helen Xenelis Hamilton, a life-long resident Cranford, NJ passed away on March 27, 2024 after a long struggle with breast cancer. She is predeceased by her parents, Strato and Alice Xenelis. 

  Helen Xenelis was born in Plainfield, NJ on April 14, 1951; speaking only Greek until five years old, she was able within a few weeks at Kindergarten to quickly master English and absorb American culture.  Helen attended Cranford High School; her diligent organizational skills were evident early on as Helen was appointed yearbook editor.  She graduated in 1969. 

  She continued her education at Bay Path College in Long Meadow, MA and graduated from Cedar Crest College, Allentown, PA with a BA in History in 1973.  Helen began her career teaching middle school history in Scotch Plains, NJ.  While teaching there she encountered a unique occupational problem: due to her youthful appearance, she was often mistakenly identified as a student both by teachers and students alike. To her chagrin, she said it took her awhile to gain full access to the faculty lunchroom. She decided to make a career shift from education and became a legal assistant, working for a firm of construction attorneys in Millburn, NJ. 

In the Fall of 1977, she took a marketing course at Fairleigh Dickinson University where she met James Hamilton of Morristown, NJ. It’s safe to say she got a lot more than the “A” she earned in the course.  Helen and James were married in May 1979.  Their daughter, Allison rounded out the family in May 1984. 

Cranford was the ideal place for the young Hamiltons to live.  Helen’s Mom and Dad lived a few blocks away and Helen’s grandparents fondly referred to as “Yia-Yio” and “Poushie” Andrews lived a bit further away in Westfield.  The schools were great and it was an easy commute into NYC.   

 Helen’s keen organization skills continued to come into play as she worked for over thirty years at Weichert Realtors as Relocation Counselor, advising and assisting in-coming corporate transferees and their families with selecting real estate and communities tailored to their particular needs. 

Helen always enjoyed entertaining family and friends.  She specialized in Greek cuisine, skills she learned at the hands of her Mother and Grandmother. Her specialty was roast lamb, prepared at Easter, accompanied by an array of appetizers and side dishes and finished with a sweet Greek dessert like revani.  Helen also hosted Easter egg hunts for Allison and her cousins when they were young; a tradition her grandchildren Madelyn and Benjamin have enjoyed as well.  Madelyn and Benjamin always looked forward to Nana’s visits which frequently included pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners  followed by chocolate chip cookies or brownies, always made from scratch! 

Helen enjoyed family vacations usually by the sea. Many trips were spent on Martha’s Vineyard and the Delaware shore usually with cousins the Halls from Virginia. Other vacation destinations were further away: North Carolina, Maine and Nova Scotia. The Hamiltons also traveled to Greece, visiting Helen’s dad birthplace, Eressos on the Aegean Island of Mytilene.  

Helen is survived her husband James of nearly 45 years; her daughter Allison (husband Dean Vonk); grandchildren Madelyn and Benjamin Vonk of Weston CT; and her aunt, Doris Andrews. 

Friends and family are kindly invited to a memorial service on Saturday April 13, 2024 at First Presbyterian Church of Cranford, 11 Springfield Ave., Cranford, NJ 07016 at 11:00 am.  In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Helen’s memory to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (https://www.bcrf.org) or to Alley Cat Allies (https://getinvolved.alleycat.org). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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