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Helen G. (Riggs) Laird-Cronin, 91, Lebanon, Tenn., passed away Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013.

Funeral services are planned for 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Dengel & Son Mortuary, Ottawa. Family plan to meet with friends 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, at the mortuary. Interment is set for Highland Cemetery, Ottawa.

Helen Gracie Riggs was born Thursday, Nov. 16, 1922, in rural Mountain Grove, Mo. She was the daughter of Maynard and Bertha (Matlock) Riggs. She had three brothers, Joseph Edward, William Thomas and Noble Ray, and one sister, Bernice Elaine.

The family moved to Tarkio, Mo., in 1926.

She attended Central School, a one-room country schoolhouse, and then Tarkio High School, Tarkio, Mo., graduating with the class of 1941.

Helen was married to Harland Gillett in 1942 in Stanberry, Mo.

They were farmers for several years near Shenandoah, Iowa. From this union, four children were born: Harland Wayne, Dennis, Gary and Jeanine. The family moved to the Kansas City area in 1953. Helen and Harland later divorced.

Helen married Robert Laird in 1964 in Kansas City, Kan. They made their home in Kansas City and later Ottawa, Kan. He preceded her in death Aug. 3, 1994.

She married Raymond Cronin in 1995 in Olathe, Kan. They later divorced.

Helen was employed by the Federal Aviation Administration. Her years of employment were in the Flight Standards Division at the Downtown Kansas City Airport, from which she retired in 1983.

She was a member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Ottawa, for several years before moving to Lebanon, Tenn., where she was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Helen enjoyed gardening, reading and sewing. She made quilts for all of her children and many other family members. She loved to travel, having visited every state except Alaska. She was a “snowbird” for several years, spending the winters in Mission, Texas.

Survivors include her sons, Wayne Gillett, Mc Louth, Kan., and Dennis Gillett, Rantoul, Kan.; daughter, Jeanine Smith, Lebanon, Tenn.; stepsons, Larry Laird, Kansas City, Kan., and Michael Laird, Royal Oak, Mich.; stepdaughter, Linda Stocum, Madison Heights, Mich.; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and two brothers, Joseph Edward and William Thomas Riggs.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Robert Laird; sister, Bernice Russell; brother, Ray Riggs; son, Gary Gillett; grandson, Ronald Schmitt; and stepsons, Stephen and Leslie Laird.

The family suggests memorial contributions to Lebanon Cumberland Presbyterian Church through Dengel & Son Mortuary, 235 S. Hickory St., Ottawa KS 66067.

An online guest book is available at

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