Madelyn Raaf Helfrich Kirkham passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2022.
Madelyn was born April 14, 1920, to Arland and Ruth Helfrich in New Salisbury, Ind. She met her husband, Dr. Wayne W. Kirkham, on the basketball courts of southern Indiana. Wayne’s veterinary career provided opportunities for them in Corydon, Ind., where he practiced veterinary medicine for 10 years, and then at Texas A&M University, Kansas State University, Iowa State University, the University of Florida and, finally, at Purdue University.
Upon retirement in 1984, Madelyn and Wayne moved to Panama City, Fla., to enjoy their grandchildren. Madelyn made a beautiful life for herself in Panama City following Wayne’s untimely death shortly after they arrived. She volunteered as a pink lady for over 25 years at the former Bay Medical Center. She was active at First United Methodist Church and with the Arts CSP of the Woman’s Club of Panama City. Madelyn’s faith and family were of utmost importance to her. She was kind and generous and genuinely liked by all who met her. She was also incredibly resilient and strong in a very unassuming way. The world is a much better place because she traversed it for 101 years.
Survivors include her daughter, Ann Tyree; grandchildren, Tracy Tyree of Wallingford, Conn., Kimberly Ingram (Eddie) of Belmont, N.C., and Kirk Tyree (Anne Marie) of Sarasota, Fla.; and five great-grandchildren, Katie, Andrew, Grace, Jordan and Logan.
She was predeceased by her husband, Wayne, and her sister, Mary Ruth Best.
A graveside service will be held at Rose Hill Cemetery in Elizabeth, Ind., on Sunday, Feb. 13, at 11 a.m.
The family would like to express many thanks for the loving care given to Madelyn at Mathison Retirement Center of Panama City and Charter Senior Living of Panama City Beach. Gratitude also goes to Dr. Marion Mathews and staff, Emerald Coast Hospice and SunCrest OMNI Home Health.