Helen (McDonald) Cranston, age 84, of Nantucket, passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by her beloved family on April 20, 2020 . Born on November 7, 1935 on Nantucket, Helen was an adored daughter of the late Mary G. (Davis) and John J. “Captain Jack” McDonald. She was the devoted wife to her lifelong friend and classmate, M. James Cranston, to whom she was married for 63 years.
Helen graduated from Nantucket High School in 1953 and attended Fisher Junior College. After college she served as one of the first female employees of Island Service Company and later Harbor Fuel Oil Corporation where she worked for over 35 years. She was an affectionate wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother; she enjoyed attending her children’s and grandchildren’s activities and sporting events throughout the years. Helen also loved dancing, baking, sewing, traveling, knitting, attending family celebrations, 40th Pole on the weekends, and was a member of the former Tuesday Night Ladies Bowling League, Nantucket Anglers’ Club, and a devout parishioner at St. Mary’s Our Lady of the Isle Catholic Church. She never wanted anyone to spend holidays alone and welcomed them with open arms to join her family for dinners or even just a day of company. Her family was her proudest accomplishment and brought joy to her every day. She never failed to make each one of her children and grandchildren feel special and loved. Her family will forever cherish her gentle touch, loving kindness and endless smiles. Helen is survived by her husband, her seven children, their spouses, 18 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter, as well as two sisters and four brothers.
She was the loving mother and grandmother of daughter Ellen Glowacki, her husband David of Nantucket, their sons, David II, his wife Meghan, Brian, his wife Shaunna, and their children Sophia, Sam and Lyla; daughter Pamela Bell, her husband David of Nantucket and their son Christopher; son M. James II of Nantucket and his son Benjamin; daughter Michele of Nantucket and her daughter Megan; son Michael, his wife Kathleen of Pembroke, MA, their children Kerrigan, Michael, Matthew and Emma; daughter Sheila Clinger, her husband Thomas of Nantucket, their children Ashley, her fiancé Thomas Souza, Alexisse and Kaitlyn; and daughter Kathleen O’Keefe, her husband Christopher of Norton, MA, their children Kevin, Kayla, Matthew, Michael and Julia.
She was a devoted sister and sister-in-law to Jeanette Topham of Nantucket; John, his wife Roberta McDonald of Mashpee, MA; Ronald McDonald of Wareham, MA; Michael, his wife Nancy McDonald of Fairhaven, MA; Robert McDonald of Nantucket; Genevieve and her husband Reginald Harmon, of Nantucket, Rowena Rickard of Nantucket and Catherine Ernsberger of Nantucket, as well as many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents she was predeceased by her sister Mary Fee, her brothers-in-law, John Fee,Sr. and John Topham, Sr. , Granville, John, Henry, Lloyd Cranston, and Lydle Rickard, her sisters-in-law Joan McDonald and Betty Cranston, her nephew John Topham, Jr., and niece Kelly Ann McDonald.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the Alzheimer’s Family Support Center of Cape Cod, 2095 Main St., Brewster, MA 02632, https://www.alzheimerscapecod.org/ or the Marla Ceely Lamb Fund, c/o Palliative & Supportive Care, 57 Prospect Street, Nantucket, MA 02554, https://www.pascon.org/resources-education/marla-lamb-fund/.
A funeral mass will be held at a later date.