Helen Thiessen passed away November 2, 2017 at the age of 98 in the Westview Care Community in Linden Alberta. She was born in Neu Samara, Russia to Frank Thiessen and Justina Baergen June 30th, 1919. Before her birth, Helen’s father was taken away by the revolutionaries, never heard from again and presumed dead. December 5, 1925 her mother remarried Nickolai Thiessen, adding a father and a three year old brother to the family. In 1926 the family immigrated to Canada, living in Winnipeg, Springstein and then Gruenthal, Manitoba. As more children were added to the family, Helen as the oldest daughter was kept busy with washing, ironing, gardening, and in the evening darning socks, knitting, sewing and embroidering.
October 1936 the family moved to Coaldale, Alberta. Helen attended Coaldale Bible School from 1939 to 1941. While there she sang in the choir and served the school by baking for the students and staff. She was baptised in 1939 and joined the Coaldale MB church. Helen continued to sing in the choir well into her senior years.
Helen sought employment where possible. She picked raspberries and worked in the hop fields in BC but decided that nursing would be a far better career. She moved to Winnipeg, attended night school and nurses training. Upon graduating as a “Licenced Practical Nurse,” she moved back to Coaldale and began a 30 year career in nursing at the Coaldale General Hospital. Many are the brows she has cooled and the hands she has held in love and comfort. Her cheerfulness and love have been appreciated by many.
Helen cared for her parents in their later years, sharing the family home. After her father’s death, she became the comforter, companion and helper to her mother. Their home was always a place of fun, laughter and very good food.
Helen loved to bake, sew, knit, crochet and embroider. Well into her nineties she was still sewing school bags for MCC, recently completing 1200 bags. Many family members are still curling up under her afghans and enjoying her beautiful cross stitch pictures. Travel was another passion of hers, enjoying it with her mother, siblings, friends, nieces and nephews. After retirement she spent many hours volunteering at the “Gem of the West Museum,” located in the old Coaldale Mennonite Brethren Church.
In 2007, Helen moved to Linden to live at the Linden Senior Lodge. While there she attended the Linden MB Church. In the last two years she moved to the Westview Care Community, where she was surrounded by loving, caring people who filled her final days with respect, dignity and wonderful music.
Helen was a cherished oldest sister, aunt, great aunt and a very special friend to many. Her faith was evident not in preachiness or piety but in her enthusiasm for life, her acceptance of others and her consistently joyous spirit. Her fun-loving nature was a magnet for all in her extended family.
Helen is lovingly remembered by sisters: Mary Janzen, Martha Dick, Lydia Danyluk (Steve), and brothers: Ben Thiessen, Jake Thiessen (Mary), Rudy Thiessen (Norma), brother in law: Arnold Reimer, many nieces, nephews, their families and many friends. She was predeceased by her mother, father, sister; Katherine (Thiessen) Reimer and brother, Nick Thiessen, brothers in law: Ben Regier, Clarence Janzen, Henry Dick, sisters in law: Mary (Froese) Thiessen, Marguerite (Wiebe) Thiessen