Helen is survived by her extended family in Slovakia and the many friends she had made throughout her lifetime. She was predeceased by her parents, Joe and Mary Suca, and her sister Mary.
Helen was born on April 5, 1924, in Kluknava, Gelnici, Slovakia, to parents Joseph and Mary Suca. Together with her sister Mary, the family immigrated to Canada in 1929 and settled in the Burmis area of Alberta, where Helen spent her childhood. As a young adult, Helen’s family moved to the Bellevue Dairy Road area. Later life would see a move to Coleman and then to Blairmore.
Helen enjoyed being an elementary school teacher, with the Maple Leaf and M.D. McEachern schools in Bellevue being the last two schools of her teaching career. At the age of 53, Helen retired from teaching.
With retirement, her sister Mary and she continued their love of travelling with trips to Australia, New Zealand, the Mediterranean, Morocco, Slovakia, Florida and central Europe. Favourite day trips were to Waterton Park and Lundbreck Falls, and going to visit friends.
Hiking and walking in the hills and mountains in the Crowsnest Pass area was another of Helen’s passions. Being physically fit was important to Helen and until her mid 70s she continued mowing her lawn using a reel mower. She also enjoyed ice skating and skated until her 70s.
Retirement gave Helen and her sister the opportunity to cultivate many more friendships with neighbours and their families, and as neighbours moved away those friendships were maintained and friendships were cultivated with the new neighbours. In retirement, Helen’s enjoyment of youth extended to the children and grandchildren of her friends.
Helen’s friendships were very important to her and there are too many friends to name, but know that Helen appreciated your visits to her home and your willingness to help her with tasks, especially since Mary’s passing in 2014. Mary and Helen had been inseparable. With the advent of Covid-19 restrictions, and the inability of most friends to visit with her, Helen appreciated the phone calls, letters and cards from all.
It gave Helen great pleasure when a former student would stop and talk to her in a store or other venues to tell her their name and when she had taught them. It is fair to say that the elementary students once taught by Helen are now in their mid 50s and older, so names were required as facial recognition was not possible with most! Once told the name, Helen usually remembered the student and their attributes and it so brightened her day.
In her younger adult years, Helen enjoyed playing softball and badminton, and square dancing. Some of Helen’s students may remember being taught square dancing in gym class by Helen and Mary. Many will remember watching the women’s softball team play at the Bellevue ball diamond. Others will remember Helen sharing details of her travels with her students.
Helen was able to stay in her home until recently and so appreciated the care provided by home-care staff. Thank you to the nurses at the Crowsnest Pass hospital and Dr. Kara Powell for the care given to her in her final days.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Crowsnest Community Library. Upon retirement, Helen spent many hours volunteering at the Bellevue library and it was one of her favourite hobbies.
At the request of the deceased, no service will be held. Condolences may be registered at www.fantinsfuneralchapel.ca.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to Fantin’s Funeral Chapel