Our beloved mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt passed away peacefully surrounded by her loved ones on Friday, August 16, 2019. Since 2004 she dealt with ongoing health issues but always managed to overcome her struggles because of her strong faith—she never waivered. The last fifteen years she was under the care of two physicians and their staff at Cedar Sinai who took excellent care of her two major health issues. The cancer diagnosis came in the middle of July.
Mary Helen was born on September 21, 1939 in Riverside, CA. She was the eighth child of sixteen children to Jose and Rita Herrera, and the last one to be born at home. She grew up in a large family of 12 brothers and three sisters. She learned early to work hard in the agricultural fields with her parents and would follow the seasonal crops with her family.
She moved to Lindsay, CA with her parents in the early 1960’s, worked as a packer at the LoBue Packing House for close to twenty years, then returned to college, earned a Pre-School Certificate at Porterville College and became pre-school teacher who taught children in their homes. She was employed by the Tulare County Child Development Program, later became a Program staff member assisting youth and teen mothers with the employment and educational resources of the Tulare County Office of Education. She retired in 2002.
Mary Helen was a dedicated single mother who raised her children, Lori Herrera and Joseph Morillo. Her pride and joy was her grandchild, Ariana Morillo. Mary Helen was a devout Catholic, an active parish member of the Sacred Heart Church. For a good number of years while her health was good, she visited homes on Sundays to give communion. She was still counting church collections until last month and visiting the ill in their homes, hospitals and rest homes. Helen is survived by her children Lori Herrera of Fresno and Joseph Morillo of Lindsay, granddaughter Ariana of Lindsay, one sister, Mercy Herrera, and two brothers Michael and Robert Herrera of Lindsay. She has now joined many departed family members, who include her parents, sisters Delores Diaz and Josie Herrera, brothers Johnny, Lalo, Chano, Joe, Lupe, Frank, Peter, Jesus, Ralph, and Ray Herrera.
Services will be on Thursday, 8/22 starting at 8:00 am with the viewing; the Rosary at 9:00 and the Mass at 10 am at the Sacred Heart Church on 217 Lindero St, Lindsay, CA. Burial will follow at the Lindsay-Strathmore Cemetery. Webb Sanders and Smith Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements and condolences may be made to the family at www.webbsandersandsmithfh.com
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