Helen Brunet

Obituary of Helen Tower Brunet

Helen Tower Brunet, age 89, formerly of Mendham, NJ, died peacefully on April 20, 2024, at Freedom Village retirement community in Coatesville, PA., surrounded by the love of her children, friends and caregivers. She was born Helen Scott Tower at the Tower Homestead in Waterville, NY on January 31, 1935, to Annette and Geoffrey Tower. After attending St. Anne’s-Belfield in Charlottesville, VA, Helen graduated from Chatham Hall, Chatham, VA. In the early 1950s, Helen was one of the first coed day students at University of Virginia.  Helen later developed her writing skills at Drew University, Madison, NJ and earned her BA in English at nearby Fairleigh Dickinson University. 


Helen’s gift for writing and researching family history began at age seven when she discovered in an attic trunk her grandmother Nellie Tower's shipboard diary from an 1887 cruise to Alaska. Nellie’s diary was her account of meeting and being courted by Charlie Tower. Helen was Nellie and Charlie Tower’s last born grandchild. In 2005, Helen wrote their story in Nellie and Charlie – A Family Memoir of the Gilded Age. Later, in 2011, Helen wrote a personal account about growing up in Waterville in Bittersweet – A Tower Family Memoir


Helen’s other beloved hobby was gardening. During their 50 years in Mendham, Helen and her late husband, Stuart, worked on a variety of gardening projects.  Helen enlisted Stuart in the design of her gardening exhibits at many Mansion In May events in Morris County. Her successful company, The Plant Finder, helped finance a family trip to England, Wales and Scotland in 1974 and led her to write “Green Grow Your House Plants” shortly after.


Helen was a contributor of gardening articles to Yankee Magazine, The Newark Star Ledger and the New York Times. She was also a longtime member of the Garden Club of Morristown and in 2013 researched and authored its history, Garden Club of Morristown - The First Hundred Years 1913 – 2013Helen was also an avid reader, bridge player, member of the Morristown Shakespeare Club and a dedicated contributor of essays for the Modern Mondays Reading Club in Morristown. A devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Helen is survived by her children: Geoffrey Brunet and his wife Mary, Denver Colorado; Stuart R. Brunet, San Anselmo, California; and Pamela Brunet Foster and her husband Andrew, Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Stuart and Helen were blessed with seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.


Helen was laid to rest in Hilltop Cemetery with her husband in a small private family ceremony. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Please check back for updated information.



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