Helen Elizabeth Logan passed away in her 96th year on Aug. 26, 2011 at Riverside Health Centre (La Verendrye Hospital) in Fort Frances.
Helen was born on June 12, 1915 in Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, to John and Kate Ahdemar.
At age six, Helen, along with her brothers and sisters, attended the Lebret Residential School.
In keeping with the way she chose to view life, the memories of this time of her life were mostly pleasant ones. Helen would speak of remembering the taste of donuts and cocoa that she was given after Christmas midnight mass and the sound of singing voices reflecting off the waters of Mission Lake which bordered the residential school. It was usually the parents’ visits and their need to leave that caused yearning and crying. She would say, in reference to her Mother’s ways and customs that, “I missed out on a lot.”
Helen married Tom Logan on Aug. 10, 1940 in Abernethy, Saskatchewan. They resided in Regina where Tom enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II.
Helen was proud of the war service of her husband, Tom, and her brothers, Bill, George and Art, and brothers-in-law Gus Desjarlais and Jim Thompson, who all served overseas.
Tom was overseas for two years, so Helen had to care for their two daughters, Shirley and Marie, alone. When Helen lost her mother in 1943, she had to her care for her little sister, Bernice, and her mother-in-law Amy Logan while her elder sister, Theresa, raised little Rose Marie.
After the war, in 1946 she moved east with Tom and their daughters to the farm near La Vallee which became the family home.
Upon their arrival in La Vallee, they were befriended immediately by Cecil and Mildred Kellar, who became the first of many who gave help to these newcomers from the west.
More children arrived and she became the mother to Sonny, Bonnie, Linda, Wendy and Larry. In addition several foster children were cared for by Helen.
Tom worked in the mill in Fort Frances, raised a few cattle, pigs, horses, and chickens and worked together with Helen on their large gardens. Helen particularly loved her flower gardens, especially their hollyhocks.
In addition, she worked in a fashion shop, where she exhibited her special skill as a seamstress. In later years, she used these same skills at Silver’s Fur and Style Shop in Fort Frances. She also worked for several years at Stedman’s Store in Fort Frances until her retirement.
Helen and Tom attended the United Church in La Vallee but now and then, she saw fit to attend a Roman Catholic service in accordance with her upbringing.
Both Tom and Helen were lifelong members of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #99, where for many years, they attended the meetings and dinners. Together with Tom, Helen proudly wore her uniform to parades and in Remembrance Day services, continuing to march for both of them as long as she was able.
Helen was a lifelong member of U.C.W of La Vallee, the Moose Lodge of International Falls, Rainycrest Auxiliary and the Canadian Order of Foresters.
Through the years, Helen always felt the strong tug of the seasons.
One illustration of this was her continuing desire to gather and make preserves which she did up to her 95th year. Some of the resulting jams, jellies, preserves, sewing and baking were proudly displayed in both the Emo and Hymers Fall Fairs where she often took the top prizes.
Her breads were the best in the region and were even recently awarded second best bread in the entire province.
Helen enjoyed sewing, knitting, needlework, reading and baking. She enjoyed visiting with her many friends and especially her outings with friends, Fran and Inez. Most of all, her favourite times were family gatherings.
Part of her heart always remained in the West. Upon seeing the Qu’Appelle Valley on her return trips there, she would often remark, “I feel like I’m coming home.”
Helen went on to live in her home in La Vallee for the next 65 years. During this time, Sonny and his wife, Christine, purchased the farm and moved in with her in 2005. They lived together up to the last few weeks of her life.
Her longevity was made possible by her own enduring spirit and constant loving support of all her family and extended family. She would attribute part of her longevity to the fact that she ate porridge and milk for breakfast almost every morning.
Tragically, Helen lost her youngest son, Larry, on May 20, 1982. This event affected her to the end of her life.
Helen was also predeceased by her husband, Tom; son-in-law, Ben Geiger; siblings, John Ahdemar, Theresa (Joe) Blondeau, Arthur Ahdemar, George (Kate) Ahdemar, Margaret Ahdemar, Mary (Charlie) Peerless, Bill (Bessie) Ahdemar, Charles Ahdemar, (Gus) Desjarlais, and Bernice Sisetsky; numerous nieces and nephews; and special family friends, Cecil and Mildred Kellar.
Helen is survived by her one remaining sister, Rose Marie Desjarlais; one brother-in-law, Peter Sisetsky; her children, Shirley (Tom) Morrish, Marie Geiger, Sonny (Christine Logan), Bonnie Turriff, Linda (Ernie) Jones, and Wendy (Glen) Buechlar; 21 grand-children; and many great-grandchildren, as well as one great-great-grandchild.
Family and friends celebrated her life at the services held at Northridge Funeral Home in Emo, Ont. on Aug. 29, 2011 at 1 p.m. with Reverend Frances Flook and Father Frances Pudicherry officiating.
Pallbearers were Helen’s 10 grandsons: Guy Morrish, Joel Morrish, Todd Morrish, Ben Geiger Jr., Doug Geiger, Ryan Logan, Duane Turriff, Jamie Lockman, Randy Jones and Wayne Buechler. The processional piping was performed by Helen’s great-nephew, Bill Forster, accompanied his son, Liam, on drums.
Honourary Pallbearers were her special “sons” the Kellar boys: Earl, Ken, Jim and Harold.
In memoriam, her wishes were that donations be made to the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society or any charity of your own choosing.c/o Northridge Funeral Home, Box 89, Emo, Ontario, P0W 1E0
Online condolences may be offered at www.northridgefuneralhome.com