Helen Leone McCormick Danna

August 18, 1926 - July 10, 2020

Helen Leone McCormick Danna was born on August 18, 1926 in Jackson, Nebraska.  She was the second youngest of 10 children.  Born to James Patrick McCormick and Winafred League McCormick, she was the last remaining of her siblings until her death on July 10, 2020 at the age of 93.

Helen is preceded in death by her husband, Sam Paul Danna, Sr., her parents, her six sisters and three brothers, and Minnie Bee Justice.  She is survived by her sons, Sam and wife Teresa, Dallas, Texas, Jimmy, Port Bolivar, Texas, Leo and wife Pam and Cheri Parigi and husband Gerard, all of Beaumont, Texas.  Grandchildren, Leighanne, Jason and wife Wendi, Samantha and Alexandra Danna, Helen Heffner and husband, Taylor, Justus and Jordan Danna, Jesi Cashion and husband Seth, Matthew and wife Dana, Seth and wife Amanda, Leo Danna, Jr., Courtney Parent, Sam and fiancee’ Desiree Alonzo, Patrick and wife Emily Parigi.  Great grandchildren, Haley, Avery and Sydney Danna, Macie Churchill, Amelia and Kohen Cashion, Jett Danna, Monroe, Pearson, Hayes, Luca and Aspen Danna and League and Walker Parent and Alina Parigi.

Helen was raised on a farm in the corn fields of Jackson until the age of 16.  On the night of October 25, 1941, she was alone at home with her mother who became deathly ill.  Helen rode bareback on “Beat Em All”, the family horse, through the fields to the nearest neighbor’s house for help.  Her mom died that night–an event that changed her life forever in ways that would fulfill and define everything she became.

Because of an unstable situation at her family home in Jackson, her older siblings sent her, on a train, to Beaumont to live with their cousin, Minnie Bee “Bicky” Justice.  Bicky would become her mother figure and our grandmother figure until her death in 1996.

While living with Bicky, she finished high school at Beaumont High, where she met her best friend Rachel Danna.  In 1944, while attending midnight mass at St. Anthony’s Cathedral Mass with Rachel, she met Rachel’s uncle, Sam.  It was “love at first sight”.  He told his friends that night he was going to “marry that girl”.  Helen had to return to Jackson for her father’s funeral a month later.  Before leaving for Jackson, she told Rachel that when she got back to Beaumont, she was going to marry Sammie Danna, and the following June 17th in 1945, she did.  They were married at St. Anne’s Catholic Church.

Helen was 19 and he was 23.  That was the beginning of one of the greatest marriages of all times, by any measure.  They moved to San Antonio while Sam finished a pitching stint with the US Air Force baseball team.  They moved back to Beaumont, bought a house in South Park on Threadneedle Street, and started their family.  Sam Jr. was born on May 2, 1946.  Helen was a stay at home mom through the birth of her other three children, Jimmy, 1949, Leo, 1951, and Cheri Bee, 1954.  

Helen, the Danna Queen Bee, possessed incredible foresight & intuition and with her tireless worker bee, Sam, made decisions that would shape her family’s future in ways her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren enjoy to this day.  When she realized in the early 70’s how much her children enjoyed going to the beach, she bought the perfect beach house – tiny, 5 beds in 1 room and a small bathroom.  The entire family piled in on most weekends, cozy, just the way she liked it.  The grandkids talk about it to this day.  The family, now with three beach houses, still have yearly reunions on Bolivar Peninsula.

In 1983, Sam’s 30 plus year career as a grocery salesman for a local food distributor was slipping away, distressing him greatly.  He learned that one of his customers, Batista Giralamo, was ready to retire and sell his restaurant, The Quality Café.  She knew instantly that buying it would give Sam the purpose he needed to regain his spark.  It was a decision that would enrich their “retirement years”.  In their 60’s, they became restauranteurs and The Café became another family meeting spot and a source of lifelong friendships they shared with many of their beloved customers.  They remained owners of The Café until 2006 when Hurricane Rita ruined the building, ending the business.

Helen and Sam’s love and marriage remained strong until Sam’s death on March 11, 2015, 3 month’s shy of their 65th anniversary.  Many times over their last years, Sam would tell anyone within ear shot how long they were married and about the night he met her at midnight mass.  Her response “Honey, nobody wants to hear about all that”.  It didn’t stop him, and their love story continues to be a shared family treasure.  

The family would like to thank Maria, Chanel and the rest of Helen’s caregivers at Lucas Place Assisted Living.

Services for Mrs. Danna will be private under the direction of Broussard’s, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont. 

Memorial Contributions for Mrs. Danna may be made to Monsignor Kelly High School, 5950 Kelly Dr., Beaumont, Texas 77707. 

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Broussard's Mortuary - McFaddin Avenue

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Comments
Anita Savino Fournier

Sincere sympathy to the family. Difficult time for you all but time heals. "No one ever really dies, as long as there is someone left to remember".

Jane Lee Hays

I'm so sorry to hear of your Mom's passing. I hope all of your wonderful memories will help you through this sad time. The Danna family will be in my prayers.

Lela Cascio

What a wonderful tribute for an amazing woman. Prayers and condolences to the Danna family.

Mary Elizabeth Chirafis Kirkwood

My dear cousins, so sorry to hear about your precious Mom, Aunt Helen, passing away. I will always treasure all the wonderful memories of her and the fun times we shared. May God Bless all of you and may the wonderful memories of her live forever in your hearts. Love you dearly, Mary Elizabeth

Sam Chirafis

Mrs. Danna was a truly fantastic and special lady and she will be missed by all that knew her. Prayers for her family. Rest in peace Ms. Helen. Sam & Phyllis Chirafis

Paula Danna Rizzzo

I still can remember Sam and Helen, walking into the football stadium for Friday night Kelly High School football games., supporting the team, Leo, and cheerleader Cheri Bee. What a good looking couple. Helen was a natural beauty. Her life from beginning to end, should be in a book. What a Legacy she has passed on to generations of her family. ❤️

Charlie Coco

What a wonderful obituary for a wonderful woman and the family she moulded. Thanks for all the memory’s Helen. RIP

Carlis Danna Cole

Our family is in deepest sorrow. I thought Aunt Helen and my sister, Rachel were my “other” Mamas and my Mama never told me any better! With so much Love, Charles and Carlis Danna Cole

J Mark Smith

What an incredible story and life they lived together, it shows in all 4 of you , my college days living by them on Threadneedle will always be cherished , pray she and Sam are sitting on a beach somewhere together now, WELl DONE and God Speed !

mary ledyard

Sending love, hugs, and prayers from all the Ledyard family. Helen touched each and every one of our lives. We loved her and Sam dearly. They are together again watching over all those they loved.

Kevin, Brooke, Gus, and George

Aunt Helen, you will be missed, but yours and Uncle Sam’s wonderful story’s of a life full of love and family live on. Lots of Love !

Liz Lovoi Welch

I am so sorry to hear of your mom's passing. She was a ballpark regular back in the day when I kids were younger and I loved chatting with her. Please accept mine and Tommy's heartfelt prayers and condolences. We will keep you there.

John H. Fears

God bless the Dana family. Helen was such a wonderful lady. Many stories to be shared about she and Sam. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Jimmie Jay Jackson

Cheri Bee, please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Mother. She was a special lady.

Michele Allen

Sending much love to you all! She always lit up the room!

Jenni & Vic Marino

What a fabulous life lived. I know she is missed.

SHELIA JOHNSON

What an amazing woman. She will be missed. I have so many fond memories of times spent with the Dana family. Thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Noel Cowart

What a blessing to have married into this family in 1959. Sam and Helen and their kids were always a joy to be around.. Great memories of dances @ Tapawingo Club,,family gathering s,reunions, weddings and then finally funerals. A great life, well lived and much loved. Who could ask for anything more. Thanks for sharing your lives with us. Much love........Noel Condolences to the family and thanks for sharing your life with us.........Noel

Carroll (CJ) Marino

Leo, Cheri, & all of the Danna family. So sorry to hear about your mother's passing. What a beautiful obit for a beautiful person. So many great memories from our Assumption & Kelly days & the visits to your house on Threadneedle street. Your family will be in my thoughts & prayers, CJ & KIM

Joan and Bruce Henley

Such a pretty lady! Family is everything ❤️

Lauren Wullenwaber

Such a wonderful tribute, she was so proud of her family. She will be missed. Praying for a peaceful heart for each of you.

JO BETH (DANNA) ADCOCK

What a wonderful love story of two great people. Love that spilled out to everyone they knew. I’m sure there will be a space in your lives with her not with you,, but I think God wanted her to be with Him and her “forever love” , Uncle Sam. My love to you all.

mike cacioppo

cheri & leo & all the family-i am so sorry for your loss. we are thankful that we had such wonderful parents & have had them with us for so long. prayers mike cacioppo

Susy Le Blanc Triantafillis

Leo & Pam, Sam, Jimmy, Cheri & Gerard and to beloved Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren,and to all of the Family of dear Mrs. Helen, we send our deepest condolences for the loss of this dear Lady. May God wrap his loving Arms around you ,and fill your thoughts with many wonderful memories. During our high school years, we had many wonderful visits, and again, later, at Quality Cafe. Your precious parents were always happy to see us when we would visit, from Greece. We're sending our love and prayers,. Rest In Peace, Mrs. Helen,. With Love, Susy & Dinos Triantafillis

Celeste Salhab

What a wonderful tribute to a beautiful woman, both inside and out! Our deepest sympathies go out to all of you. May your many great memories sustain you and bring you comfort and joy during this time of grief and loss. Much love, Sunny and Celeste

BRIDGET TEARE

LOVE TO ALL OF THE DANNA'S BRIDGET DURING THIS TIME GRIEF AND LOSS!

Manuel and Donna Rizzotto and Family

So sorry for the loss of your sweet sweet mom. She was one of a kind. Manuel, Donna Rizzotto and family..

Debbie Danna

My love to the amazing Danna family. I loved Helen so much and I’m glad I got to visit with her a couple of years ago. The. video was so beautiful I’m thankful I got to see it. Always, Debbie

Mary Beth Adrian Cloninger

Cheri Bee, your parents were wonderful people, always so gracious and welcoming. May the prayers of friends and the countless happy memories bring you all comfort. Mary Beth and Gerald

Danny and Maida Ducote

Sam, Jimmy, Leo and Cheri——- Soul Brother and Miss Helen.........what a pair,!! From the ATO days, to the soccer and baseball fields, to The Quality, they always greeted me with a big smile . I always got a hug from Helen. She was beautiful. Thinking about all of you...... Danny

Candye Anderson

I always loved Helen and Sam. Such an amazing couple. Prayers for all the family. Love to you all.

Tom Leicht

A wonderful couple that I have known most of my life. Always a joy. May their souls and all the souls of faithfully departed, REST_IN_PEACE< AMEN

Phyllis English

What a beautiful tribute for Mrs..Danna! I remember visiting in the parking lot at Assumption and thinking she was the most beautiful lady I knew (inside and out) ... movie star beauty! May your memory’s and God’s loving grace carry the Danna family in the days ahead ❤️

Margaret Coco Mignery

Our two families were lifelong friends and saying goodbye to Helen feels like the end of an era. So many are gone now but the memories and love we shared will live forever. RIP lovely lady, Helen.

Michel and Frances Hohn Alain

Our sincerest condolences to you all in the Danna family. You were very fortunate to have enjoyed your mother’s presence for so many years.

donavon salter

One of the most special and important people in my life. I don't know if I would have stayed in Beaumont if not for having breakfast with she and Sam every day when I moved here in 1988. Memories make us rich. My life was better for meeting both Miss Helen and Mr. Sam.

Joseph & Lindsey Ramey

"Nanna" was a wonderful woman who always treated me like one of her own grandchildren when I saw her. I know she is up there on the beach cheering on Sam in a game of horseshoes..

Paulette & Paul Guidroz

Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.