Helena Maj Quaid, 80 of Hoyleton, passed away at 1:20 p.m. on Wednesday, November 9, 2022 at Alden Gardens Waterford in Aurora after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
She was born in May 1942 in Kinna, Sweden. She immigrated to the U.S (Batavia, IL) with her parents and older brothers at age 7 where she lived until she joined the U.S. Air Force as a medical technician after graduating from Aurora College. While in the Air Force she met and married her husband of 55 years James C. (Jim) Quaid. She was honorably discharged as a 2nd Lieutenant before the birth of her first child, Dennis. She and her son soon joined her Jim on a duty tour in Seoul, South Korea under a diplomatic Visa where she worked at a missionary facility. It was here where she found a passion that would help define much of the rest of her life, adoption, and more specifically international adoption. While in Korea she and Jim visited an orphanage to share treats to the children there. They fell in love with a little girl who that day became their daughter Sookie. Life as a military spouse didn’t keep her in Korea long. She and Jim traveled back to the states, where son James Robert (Jimmy) was born and the family lived in Maine, California, and finally Illinois. Through the years, the family was joined by Jim’s older children, Troy, and Starlette, where she sheparded 5 kids under age 10 before she and Jim fostered and adopted the final member of the family, Kevin.
She was a lifelong learner who loved to read, teach, travel, knit, and sew. She obtained a teaching certificate and substitute taught before earning a master’s degree in social work. After that she took roles with the Bensenville Home Society and Lutheran Child and Family Services (where she retired) to place children with families for adoption. She joined children from several different countries (including the U.S.) with loving families and treasured staying connected with those families as years passed. She was active in her church and community organizations and led a Parkinson’s support group before her health no longer allowed. She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Hoyleton.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Richard, stepdaughter Starlette, and grandson Chase. She is survived by husband James, brother Robert (Ceryl), children Kevin, Troy (Twila), Dennis (Loryn), Sookie, and James (Dawn), in addition to 16 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
Private services will be held. Memorial contributions may be made to Parkinson’s Disease research. Styninger Funeral & Cremation Chapel in Hoyleton is in charge of arrangements