HelenRae Gibson Tarantino 1947-2021

AUSTINTOWN — HelenRae Gibson Tarantino, 73, loving wife and mother of three children, passed away early Monday morning, Jan. 11, 2021, at her home, with her loving family by her side.

HelenRae was born May 31, 1947, in Pittsburgh, Pa., a daughter of the late Kelan and Margaret Stoll Gibson.

She graduated in 1965 from Wilmington Area High School in New Wilmington, Pa. and attended Youngstown State University.

On Dec. 14, 1974, she marred Ronald Tarantino. Together, they raised a daughter, DawnaRae, and two sons, Michael and Steven.

She began her career doing respite care work with Easter Seals and retired from the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities in 2012 as a direct care provider. HelenRae made a big difference in the lives of the people she served and worked with during her many years of service.

She was an artist and a crafter in many different ways. Because of her love of arts and crafts, she dedicated many volunteer hours to the Arts and Crafts Building at the Canfield Fair, volunteering over many years before, during and after the fair week to make it all happen. She entered many creations and won many blue ribbons, including best of show and other honors. As a family tradition, she and Ron got a photo button together at the Canfield Fair for 45 consecutive years.

HelenRae had a beautiful, loving and giving heart. She used her artistic talents to benefit many lives. She taught her clients and anyone who asked, arts and crafts, and she shared her tools with all. If anyone walked in her home, many left with something from her craft room. HelenRae is now in heaven and she is painting the sky and “Zen Tangling” the clouds, all “mod podged” together to show she is there.

Mrs. Tarantino served faithfully for over four decades as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, dedicating her life to Christ. She served in many leadership positions in her church, both locally and regionally, serving with much love.

HelenRae had a loving, creative, and adventurous spirit. Philosophical about life, she would often say, “every mistake is an opportunity.”

She is survived by her husband, Ron; her three children, Dawna (Will) Macy, Mike (Bonny) Tarantino and Steve (Dennise) Tarantino; her sister, Susan (Charles) Cole; her sister-in-law, Marlene Fekete; many grandchildren; many great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Her family is both near and far, from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, New York and Scotland.

Due to the current pandemic, no calling hours or services will be held at this time. A celebration of HelenRae’s life will take place this spring, near the time of her birthday.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Kinnick Funeral Home in Youngstown.

In HelenRae’s memory, donations may be made online at the Kinnick Funeral Home website for a memorial bench fund that will be placed outside the Arts and Crafts Building at the Canfield Fairgrounds, with any excess proceeds going to the Second Harvest Food Bank in HelenRae’s name.

Visit kinnickfuneralhome.com to view and share this obituary, to donate, and to send condolences online to HelenRae’s family.

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