“When tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we’re far apart. For every time you think of me, I’m right here in your heart.”
And she is remembered and in the hearts of many as girl who grew up in Rumson, graduated from RFH and raised her family in Fair Haven. She is remembered as a longtime Fair Haven mom, neighbor and friend. She is Helen Apy.
Helen passed away at the age of 81 on May 18. She will be remembered with at service at 2 p.m. on Saturday at The United Methodist Church of Red Bank 247 Broad Street, Red Bank. Home.
Many remember Helen as Karen and Ed’s mom and a Fair Haven recreational girls’ softball and basketball coach and referee. They remember seeing her friendly smile and wave in the Acme. They remember her as a welcoming neighbor whose home was always open to friends and family. Messages of sympathy flooded social media upon Helen’s death. But, yesteryear neighbor Robin Drake Fitch summed up the sentiments with her tribute:
“I grew up with Mrs. Helen Apy as our wonderful, kind, caring, warm-hearted, generous, strong in so many ways, backdoor neighbor at the corner of Dartmouth and Hunting,” she said. “I learned so much from her. Just a few weeks ago I was telling a friend about her, and something she taught me over 50 years ago about respect! Long lasting lessons from a loving neighbor and friend.”
Yes, those are the subtle, yet lasting memories of community that stay with us forever. Many of us have theses memories of the mom of someone with whom we grew up. Several moms, perhaps. I know I do.
I, too, remember Mrs. Apy. I remember her sincere, warm smile. I remember her direct, caring demeanor. I somehow remember her laugh. I remember her chatting with my mom in the Acme, too. She was one of those ever-present Fair Haven moms. I didn’t know her as well as her neighbors or family, but I do remember her. I knew that she was there, one of those forever Fair Haven moms and neighbors, embracing what was the Fair Haven family without prejudice or pretense. I remember her, like many other Fair Haven moms, caring for people, not things. I remember that she embodied the moms with whom we grew up and respected. And she respected, too. Respect. I do not know what her lesson of respect for her neighbor kid Robin entailed, but I suspect it was one that resonated with clarity.
I know that her own acceptance and respect did. It showed up in her words and smile. More importantly, she showed up. In fact, many years ago, Helen went out of her way to get a message of thanks to me for a memorial piece I wrote about her dear friend. He was another piece of home. I never forgot him or her words of appreciation. It came from a heart at home, after all.
I browsed through Helen Apy’s public Facebook page to honor and remember her. I saw pictures of her happy with her family and her friends. I saw pictures of her Fair Haven home. I saw happy memories. I saw smiles. Then I saw a post from 2018 in which she was looking to come home again, on the hunt for an affordable place. She had been living in North Carolina. A friend told her to stay there. “It’s too expensive here,” she said. “You don’t like it?” Helen’s answer: “I miss home too much.”
Well, you made it back home, Helen. I and many others understand all too well the value of that Fair Haven home and heart. It bears no price tag. And it has nothing to do with property value or nitpicking curb appeal now does it? Rest in peace. You are home. You are remembered.
From Helen Apy’s obituary … some more about her …
Helen Lee Apy, age 81, long time resident of Monmouth County died May 18 at Meridian Health Rehabilitation Center in Shrewsbury.
She was born on May 29, 1937 in Bronx, NY. She grew up in Rumson and graduated from RFH in 1955. She then received her associates degree in Physical Education from Brookdale Community College.
In her free time she was an active member of the First United Methodist Church in Red Bank and spent most of her adult life coaching and refereeing recreational girls softball and basketball in Fair Haven.
She fought for women’s and civil rights her entire life, even attending the March On Washington in 1963.
She is best known for her love of the New York Yankees and her “boyfriend” Derek Jeter as well her endless love and support for her children and grandchildren.
She is survived by: her two children, Edward Apy and wife Kathy Apy, and Karen Apy; grandchildren, Charlie Apy, Nicole Cebulko, Ryan Cebulko, Courtney Glubo and her husband Ryan Glubo; and her great-grandchild Sophie Lee Glubo.
She is predeceased by: her parents Eileen Klamka and John Lee, her brother Joseph Lee Jr., as well as her son Baby Boy Apy and granddaughter Isabella Apy.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers and in honor of her years of volunteer service, please send any donations in honor of Helen to the Salvation Army.