Born in Rossland, BC on June 28, 1932 , Helen was the first of 3 daughters born to John and Mary Williams. John was formerly a steamboat engineer employed by the CPR Steamship Line and later worked for Comino. Helen grew up in Rossland and as an adolescent took several trips with her parents to visit her many relatives in Carman Manitoba. When Helen was 15 her mother became ill with cancer and the family moved to Castlegar for her mother’s comfort where Helen completed high school As a teenage Helen would take the passenger train from Castlegar to Naramada to pick fruit in the summer with her friends. She recalled many wonderful experiences during the fruit picking seasons in the 1940s.
Upon finishing High School, Helen attended Trail Business College and upon graduating soon found a job working in the clerical department at Cominco. In 1951 Helen met and married her first husband Leslie William York. Helen travelled the province with her husband who was a construction carpenter going from job site to job site with her burgeoning family in tow. The family finally settled more permanently in Kinnaird, BC where Helen faithfully raise her seven children. There was a lot of major construction projects in the Kootenay area in the 1960’s which afforded her husband more job opportunities. Throughout Helen’s life she enjoyed raising her children, sowing and knitting, gardening, entertaining, and travelling.
Unfortunately after 28 years of marriage Helen and Les divorced in 1979. With one child still at home and bills to pay Helen once again attended Business College in Trail and was able to find clerical work this time with the Ministry of Forests, Selkirk College and later the Ministry of Human Resources. In 1987 Helen met and married Fritz Kreil. Fritz loved to travel as did Helen so they embarked on several wonderful vacations around the world. Unfortunately the good times were not to last when Fritz died of cancer in 1994. Helen carried on as best she could with the support of her loving adult children and retired in Raspberry BC. As Helen’s health decline with age she moved into Castlewood Care Home and finally Castleview Care Centre where she died peacefully on August 26, 2020.
Helen is survived by her children; Gerald, Bruce, James , Donald and Leslie York and their spouses and by her 9 grandchildren, Sandra, Nicole, Aaron, Megan, Ryan, Erika, Danny, Mathew, and Brett. and by her four great grand children Maverick York, Hanna Hunt and Hanna and Kaytlin Palsson. She was predeceased by her husband Fritz and two of her children Debbie Lynn Palsson and Robert William York.
The family wishes to express their deep gratitude and thanks to the all the staff at the Castleview Care Centre and to her doctors and nurses for all their kind attention and efforts to make Helen’s life comfortable especially during the very difficult last days and hours of her life.
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