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Helen Marie Kraus-Patterson, age 96, gained her angel wings on Sunday morning, November 27, 2022 from her current residence at Vista Springs-Edgewood in Lansing. Born at home in Monroe on November 21,1926, Helen was the 2nd daughter of twelve children, of Curtis James and Minnie Bell (Clark) Durocher. She was baptized, received her First Holy Communion, and was confirmed at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in Monroe. She graduated from St. Mary Academy in 1944. In June of 1948, she married Charles Tracy Kraus, and from that union came five children. She worked as a lab technician at Mercy Hospital, where she made many lifetime friends.

One of Helen’s proudest accomplishments was achieving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities from Wayne State University in 1979. With her degree, she worked with the Monroe County School District, preparing new graduates for the labor force. She continued in this pursuit at the Snohomish County School District, after moving to Washington State in 1984. She found joy in helping people. Helen loved traveling (England, Antigua, St. Lucia, Hawaii and Seattle – to name a few), was a voracious reader, a “Big Band” music lover, an accomplished painter, and a dedicated Bridge player. However, most of all, she was a loving sister and mother.

She was preceded in death by her parents; two sons, Charles Tracy Kraus, Jr., and Paul Gerard Kraus; and six of her siblings. She leaves behind her children, Deborah “Debbie” Kraus (Douglas Eastman) of Shoreline, Washington, Mary Kraus-Leppanen, DVM (Joseph Leppanen, DVM) of Dewitt, and Jon (Jill) Kraus of Carmel, Indiana; and nine grandchildren, George, Samantha, Ethan, Quinn, Abrahm, Ezra, Amara, Jacey, and Jenna. Helen will always be known as “Grammie”.

Honoring her wishes, cremation has taken place and the Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated on Saturday, January 7, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at St John’s Student Parish, 327 M.A.C. Avenue, East Lansing, with visitation from 10-11 a.m.

The family wishes to thank the staff of Vista Springs-Edgewater and Careline Hospice for all their kindness and consideration in caring for Helen during her final days.

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Helen’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Christiansen’s Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Greenville, (616) 754-5638.


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2 Condolences

  1. Anita C. Naida Hoffman on November 30, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    Debbie – Sad to hear of your mother’s passing. Memories of her, she has always been such a beautiful, gracious lady and a wonderful hostess for our gatherings at your home (in high school). Rest assured that in the blink of an eye she was suddenly in the presence of God. She is celebrating Christmas with so many family members in Heaven!

  2. Dr. Kenneth Achterberg on December 20, 2022 at 8:45 pm

    So many happy memories shared, especially at Christmas. She was always younger than whatever she was, and lit up a party with her happy heart. Big hugs to a special family. Prayers for God’s comfort and healing. Love Doc and Jeanette

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