Leslie Norman Helliar, beloved husband of Ethel Lillian Helliar for 51 years, passed away peacefully on Friday, July 7, 2023 with family by his bedside at La Verendrye Hospital in Fort Frances.
Les was born in Rainy River on May 21, 1936, to Charles and Florence Helliar, the same year that they founded Helliar’s Resort. He grew up in this business and was involved in every aspect of it. He was an original student in Nestor Falls Public School. He attended Fort Frances High School and boarded at Cuthbertson’s while in school. Les went to business college in Winnipeg in 1956-1957. He then worked with Charlie and Florence after college at Helliar’s Resort.
He met Ethel Bye and was married on October 12, 1959, in Emo. Both joined the congregation of the Nestor Falls United Church on March 26, 1959, and had remained members until their passing. Les and Ethel worked side by side at Helliar’s Resort for many years, much of it in partnership with Stan and Judy Cottam and Les’ parents Charlie and Florence Helliar. Today this business is carried on by sons Glen and Wayne.
Ethel passed away March 14, 2011, and since then Les had a special friendship with Lorraine Eklund. They would visit each other often, travel to many places together, dancing at the border bar, and played cribbage very competitively. They stayed together in a cabin over the summer months, canoeing or socializing over a glass of wine.
He enjoyed going to Stan’s house to listen to music and play cribbage. He loved curling, especially in Bonspiels, one time representing the district on both a Men’s team, and a Mixed team. He did a lot of volunteering at the skating rink, the curling club, and various committees. He also enjoyed square dancing with a group in Barwick, he loved watching sports, especially the Blue Jays and the Winnipeg Jets and hockey night in Canada. Les was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Manitou #631 for over 50 years, located in Emo, Ont.
Les is survived by his sons Glen (Joleen), Wayne; daughter-in-law Gloria George; sister Linda Connorton of White Rock, B.C.; uncle Stan Cottam of Nestor Falls; brothers-in-law Harley (Gloria) of Dryden, Ont., Gerald Fadden of Rainy River, Ont. Also surviving are his grandchildren Jennifer Plesh (Ryan) Winnipeg, Man., Nicole Kaukinen (Jason) Thunder Bay, Ont.; two step-granddaughters, Peggy Sue Duchene of Thunder Bay, and Cindy Hodge (Rusty) of Alder Flats, Alta.; his great-grandchildren Nate Councillor, Jacob and Tamsyn Kaukinen, Zander, Morgan, Keaton, and Bryson Hodge; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife Ethel Helliar; his parents Charlie and Florence Helliar; his sister-in law Judy Brennan; his brother-in-law Milton (Wilma) Bye.
Les battled many health issues for the last 10 years. He started dialysis two years ago in Fort Frances where he would travel back and forth from home three times a week. He always spoke highly of the nurses in the various facilities.
He seemed almost invincible, as he kept bouncing back from each challenge, and never complaining about anything, except hospital food.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, July 13, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at the Nestor Falls United Church in Nestor Falls, with Rev. Ralph Fluit officiating. Interment will take place at Norman Cottam Memorial Garden Cemetery in Nestor Falls. Luncheon at the Nestor Falls Hall afterwards.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Fort Frances Dialysis Unit c/o Northridge Funeral Home, Box 89, Emo, Ontario, P0W 1E0, as was his wish.
Arrangements entrusted to Northridge Funeral Home Ltd., Emo, Ontario.