Helen Iona Johnson Metcalfe

December 30, 1932 ‒ September 21, 2019

Mount Vernon, Ohio

Helen Iona Johnson Metcalfe was born at home, on December 30, 1932, to F. Malden Johnson and Luella Myrl Moyer Johnson; she was their only child.

At age 13, she agreed to go steady with a strapping 15-year old boy Russell F. Metcalfe, Jr. at church. Young, but forever. The two of them attended Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) in Quincy, MA. Helen went to ENC a year after Russell who prepared for ministry. Russ and Helen had remained sweethearts and continued going steady throughout college. At graduation, Helen was her class valedictorian.  Russ and Helen were married on a Friday evening, August 27, 1954, at Akron First Church, Akron, OH. Helen sang at her own wedding. They honeymooned briefly at Lake Erie.

Helen followed, working in education, wherever Russell’s preaching call led. She taught grade school after they got married, then later high school English, and still later held a professorship of English Literature at ENC when they moved back to Quincy, MA in 1977. They served together in eight churches: Muncie, IN; Cherry Valley, OH; Atwater, OH; Butler, NJ; Poughkeepsie, NY; Edison, NJ; Melrose, MA; and Wollaston, MA.

She retired with Russell to Falmouth, MA and eventually moved to Mount Vernon, OH in 2008.

Helen passed into Glory at home, attended by her husband, her son Stephen, and daughter-in-law Sharon, on September 21, 2019. She was 86-years old.

Helen is survived by her husband of 65 years, Russell F Metcalfe, Jr.; four sons: John, Stephen, Mark, Russell III; fourteen Grandchildren: John Jr., Danielle, Joseph; Benjamin, Jacob, Kara, Jim; Miranda, Jessica, Emily, Andrew; Jennifer, Melissa, Russell IV; and twenty Great Grandchildren: Rose; Aiden, Mason; Carter, Willow, Sawyer; Olivia, Luke, Levi; Hannah, Malachi, Esther; Hezekiah; Ethan, Allianna; Rowan, Annabelle; Jason, Madison, Weston.

Friends may call on Thursday, September 26, 2019 from 1-3PM at the Gay Street United Methodist Church.  A service will follow, beginning at 3PM at the church, with Pastor Steve Dean officiating.  A graveside service will be held on Friday, beginning at 11AM, at Northlawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Peninsula, Ohio.

To send the family a condolence online visit: www.snyderfuneralhomes.com

The Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Helen Iona Johnson Metcalfe.


  • My condolences to the family. Though I have never actually met either Russell or Helen, I do consider myself a friend of Mark and through him, I have had enough contact with his father to be acquainted with him. So I especially offer my sympathy and prayers to Russell. I’ve only been married to my wife for 38 years, but already I understand how her passing would not just cause me to miss her, it would actually tear a part from my very being. How much more so after 65 years. May the Lord grant you the awareness of His loving presence and the everlasting arms that are underneath you. We do look forward to a joyful meeting at the Eastern Gate. We mourn, but not without hope. With much love.

  • Russel and Helen moved to Quincy the same year Laurel and I did, where they both became pastor and friends. We shared time, good food, visits, and concern for our kids across the years. We are sorry to see Helen leave our presence, yet are assured of renewing the friendship at a future time. We have known no finer family, and had no better friends to this day.

  • Dearest Pastor Russ and Family: You are being held up in prayer hourly. I know the Lord walks through this loss with us, as he did for my mom. I know that Helen and my parents are sitting around the throne of Grace even as I write this, that is hope.

    Please let others care for you; rest in the love and care of so many who are embracing you at this moment in time.

    Loving you all so much,
    Barb Welch

  • Prayers for His Peace for your family during this time of loss! I am so thankful my father prayed for you and your call to Wollaston Church! God richly blessed us and your ministry to our family! May God’s richest blessings be with you and your beautiful family.
    Much love and many prayers,
    Nancy and Jim Johnston

  • That’s quite a life just outlined. Condolences for such a huge loss. Prayers for all of her family and friends, but most especially for her husband and sons. May you experience God’s healing and comforting presence and loving embrace, even as Helen does now eternally.

  • Our prayers join those of countless others who mourn with you at the passing of your beloved companion, Helen.

    A prayer of Peter Marshall–
    “Father, we are only human. We need the touch of human companionship. Sorely we miss those we love who are with Thee. Help us to know how close our loved ones are. For if they are with Thee, and Thou art with us, we know that they cannot be far away. Point us with joy to the great reunion. But until then, enable us to live happily and worthily of those who are with Thee. Amen.”

  • Getting acquainted with Helen in the fellowship of retired pastors and spouses of the Three Rivers District has been a blessing to us! We will miss Helen’s friendly smile, intelligent conversation and sensitive spirit. We send our love and prayers to you, Russell, as well as your wonderful family!

  • Hugs and prayers for all. So grateful for the Metcalfe influence, example and encouragement and for your prayers for my family.

  • Pastor Russ and Family,
    Our prayers go out to you in the passing of Helen. We both have special memories of the important years spent with you at the Wollaston church and ENC. Helen was my dear colleague in the English Department, and I have always cherished our many discussions about literature – and life. She was a wise woman. May you feel the loving arms of our Lord surrounding you and giving you the strength you need at this time.
    With fond memories and much love,
    Norene Pfautz Fiacco & Kristin Fiacco Dow.

  • How fortunate we are to have known Helen and Russell these past ten years, since they moved to Mount Vernon. She was a quiet and calm presence, a blessing to all who knew and loved her.

  • Rev. Metcalfe and family,

    Special thanks to Rev. and Mrs. Metcalfe for their ministry during my student and faculty years at the college. Helen was especially kind during my student teaching days with early morning rides to Quincy. She was also a wonderful faculty colleague for so many years.

    During this time of remembering Helen’s wonderful life, please consider these words from Psalm 84:

    How enriched are they who find their strength in the Lord;
    within their hearts are the highways of holiness!

    Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears,
    they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain.
    He gives to them a brook of blessing
    filled from the rain of an outpouring.
    They grow stronger and stronger with every step forward,
    and the God of all gods will appear before them in Zion.

    Psalm 84:5-7 The Passion Translation (TPT)

    May a special sense of God’s presence be with each family member during the days and weeks ahead.

    Tim Shetler

  • For The Reverend Russell Metcalfe and for your family: we are blessed and honored to be counted among the many who feel your loss. We are forever grateful for your kind compassion and ministry, Dr. Metcalfe, while officiant of my mother’s memorial service in Cuyahoga Falls in 1959 while I was a student pastor of Boston Chapel attending ENC. In younger years, your mother singing “Under His Wings” while I was an 8 year old in her Sunday School class at Akron First Church has always been another treasured memory.
    Myrta and I plan to drive from our Atwater area rural home to attend services in Mt. Vernon tomorrow. Our prayers of peace and gratitude are with you, always, Jim and Myrta Tasker

  • Steve and Sharon, With love and strength in your time of sadness, we honor Momma Metcalfe as she joins The Father whom she served so graciously in her life. This humble warrior so full of His joy leaves you her legacy to continue, fighting the good fight and blessing others. Be at peace knowing she lives in all of your hearts. We keep you in our prayers. Rest well in peace, faithful servant of God. Job well done.
    Jim and Trudy Singletary

  • My condolences on the loss of such an amazingly strong yet quiet and reserved lady. It is a loss not just to her family but to everyone who knew her. The world needs so many more like her.

  • A beautiful soul who has touched and blessed the souls of many. Sarah and I are both honored and humbled to be one of those souls whom Helen blessed. The world is a better place not only because of Helen, but also because of the love Rev. Russell and Helen shared with each other and with all of those that they were in contact with. Helen was just one of two beautiful, caring and loving mentors, and both of us will forever hold close in our hearts the time and love she showed to Sarah, welcoming and treating both of us as though we were are part of her family. We have prayed daily for Russell and Helen for many years, and will continue to hold Russell in prayer. The world has lost a bit of the light, But the world’s loss is Heaven’s gain. Godspeed, Helen. And Russell, know how much love Sarah and I have for you, during this difficult time.

  • Dear Reverend Metcalfe. Although we were sorry to hear of Helen’s passing, we are happy to know that she is now in Heaven with our own parents. Paul and Grace Treyz

  • Pastor Russell Metcalf’s and family: I just learned of Helen’s passing and I pray that the Lord will comfort you and give you strength as you go through this difficult time. Helen was a wonderful person whom I was fortunate to know as a colleague at ENC for many years.