On Valentine's Day 2014, our family's sweetheart and matriarch, Helen Weinkauf, passed from this earthly world to heaven above, two days before her 91st birthday, at home with rosary beads in her hands and family at her bedside. Born on February 16, 1923, on her parents' ranch in the Portuguese farming community of Hollister, CA, Helen truly personified the feminine ideal of the "Greatest Generation." Helen was a loyal American, devoted wife, loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. The daughter of Manuel and Luisa Silva, Helen grew up during the Great Depression, with her sisters, Dorothy (Louie) Krumenacker, June (Eldon) Maitoza, and Betty (Norman) Dike. As a very young woman, she became a loving WWII bride and proud widow of Joseph Rose, bequeathing his Purple Heart, in his honor, to Gustine, CA in 2012.
In 1946, Helen met and fell in love with George Weinkauf and they married in 1947. Together, they planned a life, started their family, struggled through George's law school days, and with a 6 year old, a 3 year old and a set of baby twins in tow, Helen left the security of Hollister in 1954 and moved with George to the big city of San Francisco, where he began his legal career and she set up a household to be proud of. Together, they raised and loved their five children, George (Kara), Steven, Greg (Diane), Mary Weinkauf Costello (Jim) and Kathleen Weinkauf Morello (Mark). Helen and George were married for 41 years, and through all their years together, Helen was a devoted and loving wife, becoming a loyal widow in 1988. Helen was an integral and loving part in the raising of her 10 adored grandchildren, who were immeasurably blessed with her devotion and guidance and who in return, loved their Grandmother and will forever carry in their hearts the life lessons their wise Grandmother taught them: Connie and Angela Weinkauf; James and Kevin Costello, Jillian Costello, our beloved angel, who her grandmother looked so forward to seeing again; Jessica, Michael and John Mark Morello; and Greg and Stella Weinkauf. Helen was very proud of her Portuguese heritage and believed her life's work was tending to her family tree. Helen was a loving Aunt to many nieces and nephews, who gave her much happiness and many happy memories. Helen was blessed with longtime and loving friendships with her fellow "Golden Girls": Thelma, Mel and Bobbie and her Navajo neighbors. Helen was a small town girl at heart, holding dear the American virtues of honesty, living a purposeful life and family values. Helen devoted her San Francisco life to the betterment of her family, who will continue to strive to make her proud, and her memory will be forever cherished in many hearts. We will miss her loving and peaceful spirit all the days of our lives.
In fond remembrance of a life well lived, a Rosary and Funeral Mass will be offered for Helen, on Saturday, March 1, 2014, 12 noon, at Church of the Epiphany, Vienna and Amazon Sts., San Francisco. In lieu of flowers, your kind consideration to "Jill's Legacy" at the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, 1100 Industrial Rd., San Carlos, CA 94070 would be greatly appreciated.