PACKOWICH, Helena Franciszka
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September 6, 1924 - May 13, 2013
Helen Packowich is flying home one more time, at the age of 88. The sixth of nine children born in Winnipeg to Polish immigrants William and Ksenia, she was christened Helena Franciszka Glowacki. Ksenia passed in 1953, followed by William in 1962. Helen is also predeceased by husband Peter (Pat), brothers Wally, Stan and Julian, and infant brother Michael, as well as sisters Mary and Cecilia. She is survived by sisters Bernice and Terry, daughter Patti, adopted daughter Caroline (born to Cecilia), as well as three generations of nieces and nephews, two grandchildren, and one great- grandson, Lucas, born two summers ago to Patti's daughter Cecily Restivo Petroff and husband Nick Petroff. As a girl growing up in Winnipeg during the Great Depression, Helen learned the absolute value of each and every dollar, and though she became a generous soul to those she loved and cared about, she thought nothing of walking back to the PriceSmart to point out a clerical error and collect the penny owing. As a young woman maturing in a world at war, Helen clerked at the grandest store of its day - the Eaton's in downtown Winnipeg, and eventually earned her stripes as head cashier at Loblaw's Groceteria on Henderson Highway, a position well-suited to her eagle eye and unbending sense of order. She married Pat in 1947 and gave birth to Patti in '49. Pat would earn a living with Canadian Pacific and build a fine cottage on Bird Lake, the site of many happy hours spent sunbathing on the dock and fishing for pickerel off the side of an aluminum boat. Years later, in her White Rock condo, Helen liked to watch old Super 8 films made at the lake, as well as those of granddaughter Cecily, an accomplished actress and figure skater. Pat succumbed to cancer in '83, and Helen sold their house and cottage and moved out west in '86. She was a prolific knitter and meticulous needle- pointer, and leaves behind many works of art. She liked coffee and donuts and assorted chocolates, and McDonald's cheeseburgers with fries. She made great cabbage rolls and good chicken soup. She said she didn't care much for men, but she smiled when she spoke of a certain firefighter, and she always watched Wayne Cox do the weather on Global. She fell and broke her shoulder in 2010 and spent most of the rest of her days at the Peace Portal Lodge, where she received excellent care. Special thanks must go to all who work at the lodge. Your patience and kindness is nothing less than extraordinary. Helen developed a wry and prickly sense of humor as she battled old age and dementia, and those who felt its sting may find they miss it after all. Godspeed, Helena Franciszka. You're free to roam once more. Helen will be interred at Holy Family Cemetery in Winnipeg. No service by request.
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on May 21, 2013