Helen Grindel DiPietro

PORTLAND – Our beloved mother, Helen Grindel DiPietro, passed away Dec. 20, 2020, surrounded by love and family, at her home.

She was born Aug. 8, 1933, in Orrington, Maine, to Gladys M. (Higgins) and Stewart H. Grindel.

Helen graduated from South Portland High School, and later married her high school sweetheart, Santo “Sam” DiPietro, in 1955.

In 1972 Helen and Sam co-founded DiPietro’s Market in South Portland. Together they built the family business, which became a staple in the South Portland community.

Helen’s volunteer service at Portland Players solidified a lifelong love of theatre and the arts. She was a voracious reader, swimmer, artist and chef. If you were fortunate enough to attend one of Helen’s legendary Thursday night dinners or Christmas Eve parties, you were lavished with great food, music, laughter and friendship.

Her zest for life and passion for adventure were unparalleled. With her treasured lifelong friends, she shared adventures and travel, whether it was trips to Europe, N.Y., Florida, a search for the perfect blueberry pie, riding a camel in the desert, sailing around New Zealand or walking the Red Carpet for the Hollywood premier of “Evita”. Hers was a life well lived.

She was the perfect combination of Down East Yankee spunk and grit, a quick and wicked wit, and the most generous heart. She lived by these mottos: No guts no Glory, Follow your bliss, and more chickens less fools.

A matriarch in every sense of the word, Helen as a mother was second to none. She had an innate ability to help people to be their best selves.

She is survived by her son, Michael (Jane) of Cape Elizabeth, daughters, Jean DiPietro Salce and Susan DiPietro, and son, Sam DiPietro, all of South Portland. Grandchildren, Lucia and Isabella DiPietro, Gabriella and Anthony Salce and Mary DiPietro. Her great-grandchildren, Mickey and Brooklyn DiPietro and cousin, Jean Heath. And like family, Alice Burrowes, Anthony Berlucchi, and Lisa Kaminir. Dear friends, Mickey Callahan, Claudette Minott and Claire Randall.

She was predeceased by her husband of 61 years, Santo; her parents; brothers, Robert, Donald and Stuart Grindel; sister, Susan Grindel and son-in-law, Tim Salce.

There will be a celebration of Helen’s life at a later date.

The DiPietro family would like to thank Helen’s care team from Home Instead. Special thanks to Terry, Heather, Hannah, Linda, Doreen, Alice, and Phil McCormick, RN of Hospice of Southern Maine.

To honor Helen’s memory, please consider a gift to the Portland Players.

Arrangements entrusted to Hobbs Funeral, South Portland. Online condolences may be expressed at http://www.hobbsfuneralhome.com.

To honor Helen’s memory, please consider a gift to the Portland Players,

420 Cottage Road I

South Portland, ME 04106

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