Obituary of HELEN SIGURDSON
Helen Sigurdson (née Masse) of Winnipeg passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 7, at the age of 92.
Helen was predeceased in 2010 by her loving husband of 55 years, Albert (Frank) Sigurdson. Remaining to forever cherish her memory is daughter Janine (Brian) of Sedgefield, England; sons Norman and Richard (Cheryl) of Calgary; and Christopher (Teresa) of Winnipeg. Helen also leaves her beloved grandchildren Richard, Laura, Amy, Erika, Charlotte, Anton, Lorraine, Nola, Ava and Henry, as well as 12 great-grandchildren.
Helen was born on the family farm near Starbuck, Manitoba on December 6, 1928 – the last of the children of Flora (née Chabot) and Alphonse Masse. She was predeceased by brothers Theodore, Medric, Arthur and Wilfrid; and by sisters Jovanna, Florence, Dora and Yvonne. Both of her parents’ families had deep roots in what is now Quebec. On the Masse side, Helen traced her ancestors to the 35th recorded marriage in New France in 1644.
Despite growing up during the Depression, Helen enjoyed a happy childhood focussed on home, church and school. As the youngest, she was pampered by her older siblings, and remembered laughing and giggling as she was tossed from one brother to the next. She enjoyed school and at 14 was enrolled in St. Joseph’s Academy in St. Boniface. Inspired by the nuns who taught her, Helen determined to be a teacher herself. After a year at Normal School in Winnipeg, she embarked on a highly successful teaching career that started at age 19 in a one-room rural school and ended in 1985 at a large, modern suburban school, Hastings Elementary, where she taught for over 20 years.
Teaching turned out not only to be her vocation but it provided the chance to meet the love of her life, Frank, who was one of the other new teachers when she took a job in Dominion City in 1953. They started dating, fell in love, married in 1954, started a family, moved to Winnipeg and eventually built a house on Cabot Crescent, which would be her home for the next 57 years. Helen and Frank made precious, life-long friends on Cabot. Their children grew up there among a throng of neighbourhood kids, and their grandchildren loved visiting and playing in the park behind the house. In 2019, Helen moved to Dakota House Assisted Living, then in June, 2021 to Poseidon Personal Care Home, where she died peacefully.
Helen and Frank enjoyed travel – especially to England after Janine moved there – but Helen was happiest at home or at the cottage, purchased in 1981 at Glen Bay, just north of Gimli. Wherever Helen was she had a book on the go. Reading was her passion, and she passed on this love to her children, who remember gathering at her feet to hear her read to them each night. (A favourite was Stig of the Dump by Clive King.) When she retired, the extra time allowed Helen to take up writing. She published a memoir in 1994 and wrote frequent book reviews into her mid-80s.
Helen will be remembered for her compassion, empathy and wisdom. She will be profoundly missed, and her memory deeply cherished.
There will be a Roman Catholic Funeral Mass on Tuesday, October 19 at 11:30 a.m. at Christ the King Church, 847 St. Mary’s Road. In lieu of flowers, please give to a charity of one’s choice in Helen’s memory.
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