Helen was born in Detroit, Michigan to Alfred and Gertrude Trudeau. They only lived there a year or so after her birth, when Alfred’s job guarding the wax models of Model A was complete at Henry Ford’s Plant. They were a large family of 10. They moved around a lot depending on work at the time. It was lean years and work could be hard to come by although Alfred always found work. They were a family of hard workers, but they also knew how to have fun. They sang, played music, and danced. There was always time to help others and give of themselves, to smile and joke around.
Helen met Jack Coldwell at the Yorston’s picnic and there they became sweethearts. That never ended. Jack went off to serve his country in the service, stationed at the Army base in Brandon, Manitoba, and the letters went back and forth and the love grew. They married on Helen’s 19th birthday in 1946. That was the start of a 69 year marriage filled with love, joy, and contentment that ended with Jack’s passing six months ago. Helen and Jack had four children; Bob, Dianne, Jacqueline, and Debbie. They all went on to have families of their own, so the family grew with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Most of their married life was spent in Quesnel, raising the children, working, and carving a life out for themselves. They both gave all they had to their home, hobby farm, family and neighbours. As with Helen’s childhood home, her home with Jack was always filled with music. The radio, the stereo, Helen singing while cooking or cleaning, the family coming over to play music, most things were centered around music. Jack wasn’t a very musical guy, but he learned to play the spoons and was always in there with the rest.
Helen and Jack were a couple that always looked out for each other and always thought of things to make each other’s life better. Right until the end of their marriage, when either one walked into the room the other one lit up. They still held hands and had that special smile for each other. For those of us that had the privilege of witnessing that love, we are better people because of it.
In 2000 they moved to Clearwater to be with family and enjoyed a quiet, more laidback life. Helen was still cooking her great meals, and always baking up a storm. If she knew you were coming, you might just find some of your favorite baked goods waiting. The dancing had slowed down some, but they kept enjoying music. From time to time Jack would still dance her around the kitchen and living room.
They were all smiles.
They would meet with their coffee friends and go for drives and enjoy what was going on in the family and in the neighbourhood. They loved the neighbourhood potlucks and enjoyed talking with all and watching the neighbours children grow.
As time went on and more health concerns surfaced they both supported each other to the best of their ability. Jack went into care first when his health became more than the family could handle alone. Helen was there every day and sometimes twice a day. A little over a year later Helen was also in Forest View, in a neighbouring room, just across the hall from her beloved Jack. They ate meals together again, held hands, and loved each other morning, noon, and night.
The staff at Forest View was wonderful to them both and became their extended family. So they felt they always had family around even when parts of their own families were far away. A special thank you goes to Dr. John Soles who treated both Helen and Jack with respect and care.
To all the friends and family that made the effort to keep in touch and show love, we thank you. It meant a lot to them. Helen was predeceased by her parents Alfred & Gertrude, her brothers Joseph, Roland, Gerard & Bob, her sister Lillian, her husband Jack, her son Bob, her daughter Jacqueline, and her son-in-law Steve. Helen is survived by her daughters Dianne & Debbie, her grandchildren & great grandchildren, her brothers Rene & Clifford, her sisters Reta & Josephine, as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Helen’s service will take place on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. at the Upper Clearwater Hall. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Forest View Recreation Program so the residents of Forest View can better enjoy their days. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Drake Cremation and Funeral Services, Clearwater, BC, Tel. 250-674-3030. Following the service, a recorded webcast of Helen’s service may be viewed at Drake Cremation.com.