Helen passed away peacefully at the age of 93 at Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital after a brief but debilitating illness. Predeceased by her parents Arseny and Frances Smaluk and brothers Alexander and William Smaluk. She will be sadly missed by her children Catherine Johnson, Lorna (John de Witt), and Robert Kerr. Loving grandmother to Sarah, Paul, Ben (Kristin), Tyler (Shirin) and Nathan (Emily). Proud great-grandmother to James, Theo and namesake Grace Helen.
Born in Majkow, Ukraine, Helen emigrated to Canada with her family at the age of two, landing in Halifax at Pier 21. She began school in a one-room school house in rural Manitoba, where she quickly learned to speak English and discovered a life-long passion for books and reading. The family later moved to Winnipeg, where she completed high school before joining the work force. Helen devoted her early life to her home and children, and was active in the United Church. She was very proud to have been elected as a school board trustee in Winnipeg. In later years she worked in Toronto as an administrative assistant in the cheque printing business, and subsequently at St. John Ambulance. After relocating to Ottawa she flourished as an artist, creating a legacy of stunning cross-stitch pictures.
A private interment was held at Highland Park Cemetery.
Donations in Helen's memory may be made to the Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital Palliative Care Unit: