Helen Isabelle Olson passed away in Saline, Mich., on Jan. 25, 2017, after a battle with brain cancer (glioblastoma). She was born Sept. 26, 1937, in Spruce, Mich., to Isabel (Piper) Olson and John Olson, the third of four children. She attended one-room schools in Caledonia Township (MacDonald School, Norwegian School), Alpena High School (graduated 1955), Alpena Community College, and Alma College (graduated 1959). She taught elementary school overseas for the armed services for several years, during which time she traveled extensively across Europe and the Middle East. While posted in Augsburg, Germany, she met and married Peter Ferran. They had two children, Annette Maureen Ferran and Daniel Robert Leo Ferran. They divorced in 1980. In the 1970s, she went back to school and earned a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan. She lived in Ann Arbor from 1967 until her death.

She was employed by the University of Michigan for many years as an Academic Counselor, and served as the Interim Director of Honors Counseling for the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts for several years until her retirement in 2005.

Helen was a social activist and supporter of the arts. She was a voracious reader, favoring literary novels, especially by female writers and non-American writers. She loved music and theater and was to be found most evenings through the Fall and Winter at a live performance. Another favorite activity was visiting with friends and family, especially if accompanied by a fine meal and cocktails.

She is survived by her daughter, Annette Ferran, of Philadelphia; sister, Kathryn Cubalo, of Lincoln; brother, John Olson (Carol), of Flushing and Lost Lake Woods; sister-in-law, Nancy Olson, of Lapeer; daughter-in-law, Patty Ferran, and granddaughter, Meghan Ferran, of Ellicott City, Md.; and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

She is predeceased by her son, Daniel Ferran; son-in-law, Paul Corrigan; brother, Francis Olson; brother-in-law, Lloyd Cubalo; and her parents, Isabel and John Olson.

Her remains were cremated and a private celebration was held. Memorial donations may be made to Alcona Historical Society, Besser Museum, or Alpena Community College.