Helen Eldridge (Vennechenko) passed away at her home on Friday, February 18, 2022. Helen was predeceased by her loving husband, Ed, in 2013. She is survived by her daughter Cathryn (George) Shields of Grand Rapids, Minn.; sons Devin (Barbara) and Jason (Melinda) of Fort Frances, Ontario. She is also survived by her grandchildren Graeme (Gaby), Jonathon, and Ian (Madi) Shields, Olivia and Aubrey, and Andrew (Evelyn), Alina and Brianna Eldridge, all of whom she loved deeply.
Helen was born January 13, 1932, in Fort Frances to Joseph and Katerina Vennechenko. She was the youngest of seven children (Anne, Mary, Bill, Natalie, Olga, Janet) and the only one to stay in Fort Frances. After graduating from FFHS, Helen worked as a secretary at the Paper Mill where she met Ed. They were wed in 1953 in St. Catharines, Ontario.
When Helen and Eddie started their family Helen was happy to stay home and be the central figure in the lives of her children. Helen was a proud homemaker – sewing clothes for herself and her children, Halloween costumes and home décor, and mastering various crafts. Helen was especially talented at stained glass. Several pieces were gifted (the church and library) and many hang proudly in the homes of her children. Helen was a wonderful cook and enjoyed feeding others – she could make a delicious soup out of anything! If you were offered another helping (often your third or fourth) and you refused, she would say “Don’t you like it?”
Helen and Ed hosted Thanksgiving in their home every year for all Helen’s siblings and their families. Often this celebration was attended by 20-30 relatives traveling from Winnipeg and Thunder Bay and sometimes St. Catharines, all sleeping and eating at the house. Helen took great pride in her family and being able to host this annual tradition from 1962 until 1996.
As the children grew older Helen headed back to work at the Paper Mill until her retirement in 1994. This supported family travels to several continents especially an extended trip to Great Britain and Europe in 1976 and after retirement to many places including Australia, Hawaii, St. Maarten, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Las Vegas.
Helen enjoyed watching her grandchildren grow and particularly loved attending the many piano and voice recitals, festivals, concerts, plays and figure skating competitions. She also loved her dogs, having as many as four at a time. And lastly, she enjoyed gardening and just being outdoors. Her gardens were lovely.
If so desired, in expression of sympathy, donations may be made to the Riverside Foundation for Healthcare or the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
A Celebration of life will take place at a later date. Mom was a gentle soul and she will be missed!
Online condolences may be made in care of www.greenfuneralhomefortfrances.com.