Aug 3, 1919 – Feb 1, 2018
In the waning hours of February 1st, 2018 our beloved and incomparable Auntie Helen slipped away from her earthly bonds.
Born at home on August 3, 1919, Helen Elsie Hilman was the 10th child to join the Oscar and Ida Hilman family.
She was raised in the Marianne District where she completed her Grade 9.
Not content to discontinue her education Helen took her Grade 10 in Nordegg and Grade 11 by correspondence.
In 1942, after attending McTavish Business College in Edmonton, she began work for the US Military Engineers who were stationed in Edmonton to work on the Alaska Highway.
Between 1945 and 1947, Helen worked for the Red Deer Advocate.
She then decided to spread her wings and moved to Oregon to look for employment. It was the beginning of a 35 year career working in Portland.
In 1985, Helen moved back to Sylvan Lake to enjoy her retirement years with family.
Although she was a strong and independent career woman, her family, friends and faith were vitally important to her.
While living and working in Portland, Helen successively owned the equivalent of a fleet of cars, logging thousands of miles to visit family, often ferrying nieces and nephews between Oregon, Washington, B.C., and Alberta.
She also enjoyed air travel, including a trip to Hawaii and a number of trips to Finland to spend time with family.
Just weeks shy of her 97th birthday, she flew to Washington to attend a family reunion.
She was a life-time member of the Apostolic Lutheran Church and her steadfast faith sustained her through many losses and challenges.
Helen was fiercely intelligent and articulate, and known both for her wit and her astute and pithy observations.
When asked why she had never married, she routinely responded that she’d never met a man who deserved to be as happy as she could make him.
She was a lover of poetry, often reciting poems from her childhood, and an avid reader. In her early 90’s, Helen completed and published her own book, a memoir entitled “Come Along on My Journey.” And what a journey it was.
Known variously as simply “Aunt”, “Aunty”, “Nan”, “Nani” or “Nanny”, she was a mentor, a friend and a shining beacon of integrity and faith. She will be greatly missed.
Helen was predeceased by her brothers Richard, Ray, Phil, Bill, Art, Emil and Harry, and her sisters Sadie Craig, Aileen Rantala, Hazel Rasanen, Selma Holmgren, Edna Bergstrom and Jean Matson.
She is survived by one sister-in-law Marge Hilman of Vancouver, Washington and scores of nieces and nephews (both biological and honorary) and their children, grand-children, and great-grand-children, as well as a host of friends.
Viewing will be held at the Sylvan Lake Apostolic Lutheran Church on Friday, February, 9th, 6 – 8 p.m. Interment to take place in the Sylvan Lake Lakeview Cemetery at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 10th with a memorial service to follow at 2:15 p.m. at the Sylvan Lake Alliance Community Church.
Special thanks to Dr. Kauchali for his dedication and care and to the staff of the Sylvan Lake Bethany Care Centre who treated her with dignity, love and compassion.
Donations in Helen’s memory may be made to the Bethany Sylvan Lake for the music therapy program.