Helen died peacefully encircled with her family’s love.
Born in Poland to Bronislava (Latkowska) and Teofil Zdaniewicz, and emigrated to Canada at the age of two with her mother’s extended family.
She was raised on the farm in Perigord and Kelvington, Saskatchewan and after finishing grade 12 moved to Victoria. During WWII she worked at Boeing’s assembling pontoons for the Canso bomber as a ‘Rosie the Riveter’. Before she married, she worked at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce at Douglas & Bay. As a beautiful young woman, Helen met Daniel, a handsome sailor at a St. Andrew’s CYO dance, and their marriage was blessed and celebrated in June 1950.
Predeceased and now reunited with her loving husband Dan (2004), brother Ted (Evie), and granddaughter Angela.
Lovingly missed by her children Kathy (Roberto), Pat (Bill), Rob, Greg (Jan), Marian, her sister Sophie, cousins, nieces and nephews, godchildren, honorary daughter and granddaughter, and many friends. She is always with us in our heart and in loving memory.
As the family was growing up, she welcomed the neighbours and their children as well as a stray cat that began a series of pets. Helen loved gardening and sharing gifts from it with others. She made the best soups and was good at recycling before it was popular. Helen continued to speak Polish with neighbours and took the family to enjoy traditional food and cultural dancing at the Polish Hall.
Family road trips included driving to the prairies to visit the farm as well as a trip to Disneyland. Beach picnics with relatives and visits with out-of-town friends were a way to keep in touch as well as her faithful letter writing. Helen was a good story teller of the history of these relationships and her life story. Her stories live on.
As a couple Helen and Dan continued their friendships from the CYO with the “Married couples club” as well as the church bowling league. Helen also enjoyed Tai Chi classes.
Helen had the opportunity to travel to Poland to search for her birthplace which is now in Ukraine and to Mexico to visit families of seminarians who stayed with her and Dan to learn English. She also went to Hawaii, Cuba, and on several cruises including one through the Panama Canal when they sent her luggage to Europe. Undaunted, she borrowed some clothes and enjoyed the upgrade to a balcony cabin! Helen had a good sense of humour.
Helen was active in St. Patrick’s church community, participating in bazaars, used clothing sales, Development and Peace, World Day of Prayer as well as sharing flowers from her garden. She was recognized as a member of CWL for 73 years. After Dan died, she enjoyed living next door to the church at St. Clare Villa condos where she made new friends with her kind friendly smile.
Her resilient spirit of faith, friendship and hospitality invites us to do the same.
Special thanks to all the staff at Hart House for their compassionate, loving care. You enhanced Helen’s quality of life facilitating her participation in activities like painting, patio and garden events, pet therapy, video calls and music that she could still enjoy and share her smile, in spite of her health challenges.
Visitation and Prayers will be held at St. Patrick’s Church, 2060 Haultain Street, Victoria, BC, on Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 7:00pm. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Church on Friday February 9, 2024 at 12:10 pm followed by a reception and then interment at Ross Bay Cemetery.
Condolences may be offered to the family below.
Mary Stanford on behalf of Coffee group friends, London. Ontario
Roland St Cyr