We are saddened to share the passing of our beloved Mom, Helen Pinel (née McBeath) at the age of 80 after decline with dementia and other health challenges these past 2 years. She was predeceased by her parents (Edith & Andrew McBeath), husband of 43 years (1967-2010), John Pinel, second husband (2021-2023), Dean Goard, and many cherished friends and family. Helen is survived by her four boys and their families: David (Caroline, son Morgan), Bruce (Julie, sons Keiran & Nolan), Doug (Jody, and her daughters Sammy & Dakota), and Shawn; and by her sister Annabelle Watson, and niece Colleen.

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, she moved SW to London in 1952, accelerated through school, graduated with her Nursing Diploma from Victoria Hospital London (1964) then her Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Western Ontario (1965) to start her career as a Registered Nurse at the Ottawa Civic Hospital, becoming the Head Nurse of Intensive Care before starting her family.

Soon after marrying John Pinel in 1967 (“their centennial project”!), they moved to the new community of Kanata (near Ottawa) where they raised their four boys and were both very active in the community, including helping to establish the Kanata United Church. Helen returned to work in her health care profession in her early 40’s as a Palliative Care Nurse at Riverside Hospital, and later as Director of Care then Administrator of a large nursing home before retiring. After John passed in 2011, Helen moved to Victoria to be closer to her 4 boys and their families, all on Vancouver Island. Though difficult to leave her community of 43 years in Kanata, once in Victoria, she became very involved in pastoral care and other aspects of St. Aidan’s United Church (now Broad View United), where she also met and married Dean Goard, with brief time living together in a retirement home.

Helen lived a full and vibrant life. It’s hard to comprehend and tally the number of committees she chaired or worked with while also managing the household chaos of four boys, etc.! She lived in caring service to others and is fondly remembered for her empathy, grateful (and tenacious) energy, wisdom and perspective, curiosity and open-mindedness, humour, grounded manner, joy, and reverence. She supported and advocated for countless people, and these experiences were equally enriching and appreciated by her as a loving person, and our mother and ‘nana’. That’s how she rolled. Helen always initiated conversations, connecting with almost everyone she met!

With John, family, and always welcoming of friends, she loved their holidays at Goose Rocks Beach in Maine, which became a second seasonal home of sorts (until 2019), complete with hosting an annual Canada Day party for their American friends. When we were younger, her version of “relaxing” at the cottage included simultaneously knitting, reading, baking, and listening to music, while watching/refereeing a fluctuating entourage of kids moving in all directions! She otherwise valued time with friends and family at Arts events (music, theatre) and lectures on current events/knowledge, White Lake (near Ottawa), and later in life on international cruises.

Helen’s final 2 years were in care at Berwick House then Parkwood Court in Victoria. Her family are extremely grateful to the staff at each for their support, attention, and compassion, especially during her final brief palliative period at Parkwood Court, where her career and life story came full circle.

Her family welcomes people to join her the Celebration of Life for her on June 8th, 10:30 a.m., at Broad View United Church, 3703 St Aidans St., Victoria, BC; this will also be livestreamed and available online at https://broadviewunited.org/special-events-2-2/.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her memory to these organizations, which she has long supported: Our Place Society, Broad View United, Pearson College UWC…or as inspired.

Condolences may be offered to her family and her friends below.

McCall Gardens

  • Jerane & Jana DiCostanzo

    Dearest Pinel Family,
    So saddened to hear of your mom’s passing – a great loss indeed – a real force for good.
    We have many fond memories with your mom, dad and all of you at Goose Rocks – so many flashes of fun times!
    Helen was full of life and exhuberance who always had a positive spin on anything.
    We will sadly miss her and her annual notes of family adventures!
    She is a life and spirit to be celebrated.

  • Audrey Lakin

    This is very sad news. Helen was a FORCE here at Goose Rocks Beach. Her obituary captures her indomitable spirit well. We miss her and are grateful for all the times we had together, the laughter and the tears. Thinking of her family as we celebrate her life, and mourn her death.

  • Mary Lou Jaeggin

    With Deepest Sympathy to Helen Sons and Families in the Loss of their Mom Helen! She was a great neighbour on Lismer Cres.! My children were the same age as her boys and they all went to school together! Rest in Pease Helen! Mary Lou Jaeggin

  • Judy Paron (Watkinson)

    I am so sorry for your loss. It made me smile and cry to see your mom’s lovely picture after all these years. I have wonderful memories of Mrs. Pinel while growing up on Lismer Cres across the street from your family. May your many loving memories of her bring you comfort during these difficult times. Thinking of all of you!

  • Jackie Chambers

    My deepest condolences to you all. I loved running next door at White Lake to visit with your family. Helen was always so welcoming, warm and supportive. She was an amazing woman who has truly lived her life to the fullest. As I read through the messages left here, it is clear that she enriched the lives of many. I will keep my memories of her close to my heart.

  • Cathie Kissick

    My deepest condolences to your family. I knew Helen at Kanata United Church. She was such a positive and welcoming person. I always enjoyed chatting with she and John. How wonderful that she found another chapter of her life in Victoria and was close to her family in her final years. My thoughts are with you.

  • Geordie Stover

    So sorry to hear about your Mom. I have so many fond memories of your Mom from our days on Lismer Cres. She was always a friendly face and keen to hear of what was happening with our family. Your family were wonderful neighbours to have growing up in Kanata.

    Take care

    Geordie Stover (Watkinson)

  • Magda

    Dear Pinel boys and your dear ones, I know that you know how I feel about the loss of your dear Mom and in-law and Grandma. She is irreplaceable, beloved by so many, and was a true and wonderful friend. I loved her so much, and will always miss her and John. She loved you all in spades, and my life in Canada could never have been the same without her. God bless her sweet soul. Hugs and much love to you all.

  • Robert Ashton

    Was very sorry to hear this news. Helen was one of the first to welcome me enthusiastically at Kanata United Church and I enjoyed cmtee work with her. I convinced her on the merits of Apple and got her hooked on a visit to the Rideau Centre to get her geeked out! Very much enjoyed a salmon-maple meal at Goose Rocks Beach! Helen exuded empathy, kindness, love and support – she saw the best in everyone and every situation… condolences to her family and closest friends – she remains a positive influence and will be missed.

  • Barbara Barwise

    Just learned of Helen’s passing. Stan and I so enjoyed our times with John and Helen at Goose Rocks Beach. I will always remember working with Helen on the walking tour of the beach using John’s notes. Naturally Helen made it fun. We have missed them both and send our deepest sympathies to all.

    Stan and Barbara Barwise

  • Betty Gross

    I knew Helen through Canadian Girls in Training and our beloved Church Camp Kalalla in the Gatineau Hills. What a vibrant and caring person! My sympathy goes to her family.

  • Beth (Parker) Duff

    David, Bruce, Doug, Shawn and extended Family,
    I am sending condolences on the loss of your dear and precious Mom.
    Your Mom was a friend and classmate of mine from Victoria Hospital School of Nursing, Class of ’64.
    Your Mom was our leader and possessed all of the attributes of a great leader – a good listener, kind, got things done and always with a smile. She also exhibited a great sense of humour.
    May all of the wonderful memories of your Mom sustain you, give you courage and bring you peace during this sad time.
    R.I.P Helen, Until we meet again.

  • Jim Robertson

    Very sorry to hear of Helen’s passing. There is so much that could be said of her, best summarized as Helen was a very special lady. I’ve never met anyone else so caring.

    We’ve lost a “good one”.

    Jim Robertson
    (Mary Heard’s brother)

  • Sue and Claude Cousineau

    Dear Dave, Bruce, Doug and Shawn, partners and kids, we send our love to you all on this sad occasion. Your Mom, and dad John, were very special people, friends and neighbours. We won the jackpot when we bought the house next door to you. We shared many wonderful times together, often finding kids from both families raiding each other’s fridges or watching TV programs that weren’t available at our own homes. I remember helping your mom renovate, or was it demolish, your living room when John was away. The famous fireworks display in the back park on Canada Day, the midnights dips in the hot tub in the middle of winter, family birthday parties, and pictures taken of each family on the first day of school are all special memories our families shared. Your mom was fun, compassionate and quick witted, with endless energy and always making time for others. As the neighbourhood nurse she was the go-to person for advice on many occasions. She was definitely missed when she moved west but your Mom made extra special effort to stay in touch through her Christmas letters, long phone calls and support for our fundraising efforts back in Ottawa. And now we will miss her all over again.
    We send our heart felt condolences to you all.
    love the Sue and Claude.

  • Judy Philbrook

    You will not know who I am as I was a Nursing Classmate of your Mothers some 60 years ago this year. Helen was a remarkable human being those many years ago…..always kind, full of fun & with a smile on her face. When I think of her I think of pure Joy. We were all blessed to have had her in our class as I think she knew everyone & cared about us all. A very special soul who made a real difference in people lives as she walked this earth.

    She will be missed by all who knew her & especially by her loving family. Please accept my most sincere sympathy as you grieve the loss of your loving Mother. She had a heart of gold. May the memory of her essence live in your hearts as you grieve. There is no magic formula for working through grief.

    In sympathy Judy Philbrook (Bundscho)

  • Lynda Magor

    Dave, Caroline & Morgan: I am so sorry you have lost your mom. It sounds like she was truly a special person to many, and particularly devoted to her family! You are in my thoughts and prayers as you walk this grief journey. I hope you enjoy many wonderful memories during this time of reflection and celebration of your mom’s life!
    Hugs, Lynda & Graeme

  • Larry and Lyndal Wheeler

    Bruce Julie Boys and Extended Family
    What an amazing Mom and the life she has lived.
    We are so very sorry for your loss.
    Sending you our thoughts and Prayers.

    Larry and Lyndal Wheeler

  • Jennifer Falloon

    Dr. B: we were saddened to hear the news about your mom. Sending our deepest condolences and warmest biggest hugs to you, Julie and your boys. Much love to you all. The Falloon’s

  • Jean-François de Grandpre

    Dear Pinel family,
    We are sad to hear about your mother’s passing.
    It brings back fond memories of GRB. We remember her engaging personality and warm smile, always ready to help and share.
    May she rest in peace.
    Michelle and Jean-François de Grandpre

  • Joanne Osenenko

    To Pinel Family, Rick and Joanne Osenenko, from Kyuquot, BC, friends of Dave and Caroline extend their condolences to your family. Thoughts and prayers with you.

  • Allison Martin and Eric Fremont

    Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. So sorry for your loss and sending our deepest condolences.

  • Ann and Paul de Weck

    Very sad to hear the news for Helen passing. We send you all our sincere condolences. We have many happy memories of John and Helen here in England and of course our visits to Canada and Maine. Our thoughts will be with you all on the 8th June.
    Love Ann and Paul
    Wiltshire England

  • Sarah Lawrence

    So sorry to read of your mom’s passing. I remember to to be a fun and warm “mom” on Lismer crescent. Sending hugs.

  • Justine DiCostanzo

    Oh Dear Pinel Family,
    We are so sorry for your loss. Your Mum will always be in our fondest memories of Maine . You were so very fortunate to have a Mum and Nana so special . We will miss her energy, vivasiousness, joie de vivre and Christmas cards that kept us all informed of the yearly goings on. R.I.P. Helen

  • Zoe

    Hi Pinel family, Zoe Ward here – daughter of Brian Ward and Becky Fixman. My dad is Helen Ward’s son… my grandma and your mom were close Maine friends. I grew up a few summers playing with Keiran and Nolan and hoping Doug wouldn’t throw uncle Gary in the water. And of course I spent time hanging with Mrs. Pinel. She was an incredibly warm person and I was very sad to hear of her passing. I have fond memories of her and Mr. Pinel (wearing a rope belt per usual) and their Canada Day parties. The extended Ward family is sending you all a big hug. She was a truly wonderful human.

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