Helen Johnson Shanks Morris, 94, of Urbana, passed away peacefully on November 30, 2021, at Vancrest of Urbana. She was born on May 30, 1927, in Kenton, Ohio, to Thomas and Theodora Apostle. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Greece.
Helen was a devoted mother and doting grandmother. She is survived by her daughters, Karen (Michael) McKellop of Urbana, Ohio, and Anna (Bill) Criddle of Dublin, Ohio; her son, James Johnson of Lawrenceburg, IN.; two grandchildren,
Aaron (Angela) McKellop of Lebanon, Ohio, and Jayme (Josh O'Donnell) McKellop of Chicago, IL.; four great-grandchildren, Alyssa and Abby McKellop and Catherine Helen (named after her great-grandmother) and Nathaniel O'Donnell; special sister-in-law, Ann Apostle; stepdaughters, Dr. Cindy Morris Nicot and Jennie Ritter; step-grandchildren, Rosie and Simon Nicot, Joshua Delk, and Zachary Ritter; numerous nieces and nephews; and dear friend, Sally Johnson.
Helen is preceded in death by her three husbands. Helen often said that she was blessed to have found not only one love in her life but to have found three. Helen's first husband was James A. Johnson, with whom she had three children. Helen later married her second husband, Carl Shanks, and the two shared their mutual love of music and their grandchildren until Carl's passing. At the age of 75, she met and then married Rudolph "Rudy" Morris, and the couple enjoyed two beautiful decades together.
Helen had four siblings, Joanna Zaharako, Paul Apostle, Constantine Apostle, and Nicholas Apostle, whom she adored.
Helen lived her life with class, gratitude, and strong faith. She was an accomplished classical organist, serving as the church organist at the First Baptist Church and the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, both in Urbana. She played for countless weddings, including her own grandson's. She was an avid traveler, with frequent trips to Greece and France, and deeply connected to her Greek heritage. She made an unsurpassed Greek chicken and ensured that her children and grandchildren inherited a strong sense of their Greek roots. She could not have been a more adoring grandmother.
Helen gave many years of dedicated service working at Drs. Evans and Collins Optometry, Urbana College, and Champaign County Nursing Home. She was a lifetime member of the American Guild of Organists and the Daughters of Penelope.
The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the nurses and staff at Vancrest of Urbana for their excellent care.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, December 12, 2021, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Walter & Lewis Funeral Home in
Urbana. Due to COVID-19, masks will be required. A memorial service will be held on Monday, December 13, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Urbana, with Father Derrick Fetz and Father Tim West officiating. Burial will be at Oakdale Cemetery after the service, with a luncheon to follow at 1:00 p.m. Memorial donations can be made to
Doctors Without Borders and the American Cancer Society.