Helen Harms passed away on Monday, July 19th after a valiant fight with pneumonia
and kidney failure. In death, as in life, she did things in her own time and on her own terms.
She was born Helen Hiebert on February 27, 1918 in the village of Groenveld in the Ukraine. She emigrated with her family to Herbert, Saskatchewan in 1923. On April 26, 1936 she married Peter Harms. Theirs was a great romance, a passionate marriage and a first rate partnership.
They moved to the Chilliwack area in 1948 and were successful in business. They started P&E Builders and eventually built and named an apartment for each of the female family members. There was The Helena, named for Helen herself, The Marlene and The Pauline for her daughters-in-law and The Jennifer Christine for her second granddaughter. Helen ran The Juanita and The Margot Michelle Apartments (named for her daughter and other granddaughter respectively) continuously from Peter’s death in 1978 until she finally retired last fall at the age of 91.
People will always remember Helen’s sharp mind and independent spirit. Although she never went to university herself she was a great believer in education and made it possible for all of her children and grandchildren to complete university degrees.
Helen was an avid knitter and a great cook (a dessert she invented became a favourite of the Queen Mother) and she made the best buns on earth. In later years she enjoyed playing Mexican Train and no one ever beat her at Chinese Checkers.
She was predeceased by her siblings, Marie Enns, Jacob Hiebert, Kay Dyck, Henry Hiebert and Anne Dirks. She is survived by her younger sisters, Martha Wiens, Freda Teichrob and Melita Summers.
She will be missed by her two sons and their wives, Harold (Marlene) and Bob (Pauline) and her daughter Juanita Darlene, her grandchildren and their spouses, Michael (Barb), Margot (Bruce), Bruce, Brian (Carrie), Jennifer (Jordie), Peter (Nao), and Andrew (Angie) and her great-grandchildren, Frances and Alexandra Ramsay, Simon, Nicholas and Olivia Harms, Carolyn and Charlotte Forbes, Peter Harms, and Keira and Kirsten Harms.
She loved and cared for her family deeply. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren will carry the special bond that each of them had with their Nana throughout their lives.
The family would like to thank the staff of the Lynnwood, Dr. Grunow and the nurses of 4 North Chilliwack General who were so thoughtful and caring in this difficult time. The memorial service was held July 22nd.
Donations can be made in Helen’s memory to the Canadian Cancer Society, the M.C.C. or The Gideons International.