It is with great sadness that we inform you that Helene passed away in Campbell River Hospital on Friday, April 10, 2015 after a short illness.
Helene was born to immigrant “homesteaders“ in Smeaton, northern Saskatchewan and grew up looking after the farm chores and travelling 3 miles to school by horse or foot in all weather including the harsh prairie winters. She started work at the age of 11 to help support the family farm and was working full time by the age of 16.
Helene then lived and travelled in the US for a few years before returning to Saskatchewan again, looking for work.
She moved to Port Hardy in the mid 1970’s after her brother, who was working at Utah mines at the time assured her it was an “Island in the Pacific.“
Helene arrived with her bikini and beach towel. She fell in love with the Island anyway and found work at the brand new Thunderbird Inn where she worked in the pub and then the lounge for many years. During this time she served occasional beers to a couple of Englishmen (both Nigels, Nigel 1 and Nigel 2) who were here to help build Gene and Nancy Cadwalladers new house. They both left when the work was done, but one Nigel, Nigel Parr kept inviting her to visit him in the US where they traveled together before both Helene and Nigel returned to Port Hardy in 1980 to settle “for a while.“ They were married at the Port Hardy Government Agents on Jan 9, 1981. Helene worked again at the Thunderbird Hotel and then later at the Sportsmans Steakhouse for a number of years until she finally tired of the odd hours and decided to open her own business – so in 1988 Moma’s Muffins came into reality in the T Bird mall. She later bought and ran the Fresh Connection Restaurant in the mall before opening the Stink Creek Café on Market St. in 1998.
She ran the café for a number of years before selling it and finally retiring in 2005. Her muffins and soups are still legendary.
Helene always worked hard and enjoyed her time both on and off the North Island, lately in Mexico and Palm Springs during the wet winter months.
She embodied the mantra of working hard to get ahead, and always told it as she saw it – she never shied from tough decisions or hard circumstances. At the same time she always treated people fairly and was generous with her family and friends.
She is survived by her husband of 34 years Nigel, her sisters Janice and Denise in Saskatchewan, and Marie in Ontario. Predeceased by her brothers Ed and Ken Brodacki.
Helene loved to garden, bake, fish for trout and drive in the woods on Sundays looking for bears.
Thanks to Dr. Hajeb, the compassionate paramedics and nurses at the Port Hardy Hospital, and to the amazing critical care air ambulance crew who gave Helene a fighting chance.
A Celebration of Helene’s Life will follow at a date to be announced.
“She was one hell of a Gal.”