Helen Nazar

On Saturday, January 23, 2021, Helen Barbara Nazar, age 86, of Prawda, Manitoba, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family and her little treasured friend “Misty”, at the Heritage Personal Care Home.


She is survived by her sons, Brian (Lorna), Barry (Heidi), Brad (Candice); grandsons, Ryan (Lynette), Kyle, Tyler, Tristen & Liam; granddaughters, Hailey & Harlee; great-grandchildren, Alex, Katrina & Dean; brother Joe, best friend & sister in-law Nelli (Shewchuk), nephew Glen, niece Doreen & many many friends and family. 


She is predeceased by her parents, Joseph and Caroline (Lozinski) Radewich and husband Micheal Nazar.


A private family graveside service will be held at the Birch River Cemetery.

 

At this time, the family gratefully declines any flowers / gifts. In lieu, Donations can be made in her memory to the Birch River Cemetery and Reynolds Community Club.


Thank you to all the friends, family and the community of Prawda, for keeping Helen safe in her weakest moments.  Also, thank you to Nurse Jean and her team for their compassion.


 

Life Story

Helen was born and raised on the farm in Birch River (Medika), Manitoba.  She attended school at the Birch River School House where she excelled in penmanship and made friends easily.  Her early life on the farm was full of adventure. Summer days consisted of playing on the rocks in the river with her brother Joe and the neighborhood children (the Slymkevich, Weslak & Gulenchyn gang). Rafting, hooking minnows, fishing and swimming lasted all afternoon. In the winter, her father made her and her brother a set of skis and a wagon wheel toboggan, which was a highlight with the neighbour children. Helen often spoke of this great invention and how much joy it brought to all who "dared" to try it.  So many great times were had by all on that ice ride.  The evening always ended, curled up next to the wood stove, listening to stories told by her father...some funny and some spooky, but she was always eager to listen. 

Like with any farm life, came hard work, which had no room for procrastination!  Planning for the long cold Manitoba winters was always a challenge.  From a very young age, Helen and her brother Joe, learned to "live life off the grid", so to say, as there was no other way!  They learned how to plant & harvest, preserve foods, smoke meats, build ice houses, butcher, hook-up and drive the team of horses, process firewood, fish, trap and hunt for that big "6" pointer at the back of the farm. And don't let the fact that Helen was a "girl", fool you, for Helen inherited the Radewich "marksmanship" skills.  With that old "22" rifle purchased from the Merit store, Helen could pop a can off a fence post like it was nobody's business! She often laughed at how she would sometimes outshoot the boys.  I'm sure she would have won the trophy at the Prawda Turkey Shoot!  Inside chores, included cleaning, cooking & baking, sewing, crocheting & knitting warm clothing and blankets, all which Helen excelled at. 

In the evenings, Helen loved to listen to her records. She had quite the collection.  She could not wait for the next party at the Medika Hall, so she could go dancing with her friends.  Helen loved to sing and dance, and later on in life, even took up square dancing with her son Brian.  She often talked about how much fun it was and she treasured that special time with him. If square dancing was still offered at the Prawda Hall, she would be there daily. Helen also had a great love for animals. She often talked about her horses Queenie and Prince, and how she rode them every chance she had. Helen took great care of them, as she knew how hard they worked.  She respected their loyalty and friendship. 

Because the farm was very far from Winnipeg and those back roads in Medika had seen better days, the farm had very few outside visitors.  But when news came that "Aunty Mary" was coming to visit, Helen was thrilled.  For "Aunty Mary", meant "presents and treats" from the big city. There was always a beautiful dress, toys for her and Joe and some yummy treats. Helen spoke of her Aunt very often as she held a special place in her heart.

Devastation hit hard when Helen's best girlfriend died during the 1950's Polio epidemic. It was unbearable and hard to accept, for Helen had just spent Saturday night dancing with her friend.  By Monday, the news came that her friend had passed on. Helen often talked about this and how it broke her heart. Helen's work is all done now and she can meet up with her friend again!

Helen always looked forward to the "seasonal" mushroom & blueberry picking chore with her brother and parents.  It was always an adventure, especially watching her brother and father fighting off the hornets and bears that came between them and the "GOLD"!  She also looked forward to helping hook up the team of horses for the long trip to the famous "Elma Store".  She often talked about how excited her and her brother would be. Once they arrived in town, they could run off with some of the town kids,and hang out on the Elma bridge.  Helen often spoke of how they enjoyed the simple pleasure of a "ice cold root beer or orange crush", after that long bumpy ride to town and how her parents were eager to treat them.  

During the summer of 1950, Helen met a handsome young fellow from Prawda.  Mike Nazar was his name and they fell in love.  Helen and Mike married in Winnipeg on November 20,1954. In the early years of marriage Helen and Mike lived in a little house on Kent Street. Helen got a job at the Eaton's Department Store and Mike got a job at the Candy factory. Helen often spoke of how she truly enjoyed living in the city and how much she enjoyed the simple pleasures of an "in-door bathroom and hot running water". Careers changed for Mike and they moved back to Prawda, and also for a short period of time, lived in Geraldton, Ontario, where Mike worked on the Transcanada Pipeline.

Helen and Mike finally settled in Prawda.  It was here in Prawda, where their family life began.  They proudly raised three sons, taught them work ethic, independence, humbleness and kindness. They also encouraged their sons to explore and find what inspired them. Helen and Mike were always very proud of the boys and their accomplishments.  As the children grew up, Mike landed a great government job at the Pineland Nursery and Helen took a job waitressing at the Eleanor (now the Falcon Lake Resort). Later on, Helen went on to work for Sandy and Julie Zalitach at the Prawda Shell Station, alongside her friend Sally Turchyn. Helen truly enjoyed serving and meeting new people and took pride in her job. 

Weekends at the Nazar house were usually spent entertaining guests, (The Kozak and Laba) families, to name a few. The evenings consisted of a game of cards and a huge buffet of delicious food.  The children played, the women gossiped, laughed and exchanged recipe's. The men got drunk! 

The Birchwood Esso was the "place to be"! Each and every night all the locals would gather to have unlimited cups of coffee and exchange local gossip.  Helen and Mike gathered with many friends over the years, including Sally and Slim Turchyn, Brother Joe & Nelli, Mr.& Mrs.Keillor, Carl Feilberg and last but not least, Mike Truba, who was anxiously waiting to check his 6/49 ticket!

 A new career opportunity presented itself and Helen jumped at the opportunity. For 33 years, Helen proudly drove school bus for the Agassiz School Division (now Sunrise School Division). She looked forward to greeting the students everyday and watching them grow into young adults. Helen was always available for field trips and baseball tournaments which she thoroughly enjoyed to watch, as she herself was once a baseball player. The teaching staff became her family and she respected and cherished their friendship.  Helen cared and respected each student as if they were her own. Everyone wanted to be on "Mrs. Nazar's bus",because there were benefits!  Christmas chocolates, Halloween treats, and ice cream for everyone on the last day of school!  Helen took pride in her job and was very proud of her bus. Bus #33 was going down in history as the cleanest bus in the division.!  Without incident, Helen ended her bus driving career, at age 72. 

Within those same years as driving the bus, Helen also took on a waitressing job at the Birchwood Esso owned by Rudy,Gladys & Jackie Homeniuk, and then Sam & Theresa Santangelo.  Helen truly enjoyed working alongside the other employees. It was a common sight to see Gladys, Helen, Betty, Irene, and Annie laughing the day away! You could bet your life that (loyal customer and manager) Bob Dobush would be there too!  Teasing the girls and giggling under that big moustache! Helen often laughed about some of the silly incidents and will always carry those special moments in her heart. Helen was always pleasant, kind and greeted each customer as if they were family.  Helen met countless wonderful customers over the years and always looked forward to seeing them every weekend.  Many cottage owners between Winnipeg and Lake of the Woods became her lifelong friends.

Helen was a member of the Reynolds Community Club for most of her adult life.  Volunteering countless hours for the numerous events that took place over the years.  Nobody can forget Helen's delicious fried chicken dinners at the Prawda Poker Derby & races, or the delicious perogies and cabbage rolls at the fall suppers. Helen enjoyed preparing treat bags for the Christmas concert and decorating the massive Christmas tree, that was donated by her husband Mike. New Years Eve was always an exciting time.  The Prawda Hall was "just rockin'! Helen looked forward to dancing the night away with friends and family.

For many years, Helen and other members successfully ran the "Prawda Bingo". Bingo night was something Helen really enjoyed. There was never a dull moment in that bingo hall. "Jolly" Steve Kiedyk kept the bingo calling as lively as could be. Everyone remembers the famous "clickety click, O66"!  Over at table #1, where Helen, Nelli and Jean sat, you could always here giggling and comments from Jean. Many good times were had by the happy "winners" and jealous "losers", especially when Mary Galuszka would yell "Bingo" for the 10th time! Also sitting at the same table to take in the comedy, were Dorothy, Irene, Edith, Helen's mother Carrie and her aunt Julia.  Helen often talked about how she missed those special nights and wished the bingo was still up and running. 

Helen took pride in her home, garden and yard.  Not a blade of grass was out of place and her "serious green thumb" was evident in all of the beautiful plants and flowers in and out of her home. Even at the ripe age of 80 years, Helen had no issues to climb up onto the roof of the house to clean leaves from the gutters, or ice from the stack.  She did whatever needed to be done without asking for help unless it was something she could not do...but she would try first. Helen always drove a shiny white car and was proud of it. She taught her older grandchildren how to properly wash and wax a vehicle.

Helen was always happy to welcome visitors into her home. Nobody ever left with a empty stomach or without a huge care package from the kitchen or garden. Many of the fresh delicious Rhubarb pies that were sold in nearby restaurants, where made from Helen's rhubarb donation. As well as her cinnamon bun recipe that a friend desired and with a bit of tweaking, went on to create the famous "Nelda's Cinnamon Buns". Everything she had, she kindly shared with love!

Keeping fit, exercising and eating healthy was very important to Helen.  As she grew older, Helen took long daily walks and even made her own "cross country" ski trail down the Birch River.  She loved the smell of the fresh air, and even when it was -20 outside, Helen would jump into her skis and head down the river trail.  The crisp air and the peaceful sounds of little birdies chirping in the trees gave her so much joy. She looked forward to seeing the variety of wildlife throughout her journey. The deer, bears and beavers always popped their heads out to see who was approaching. Helen was never afraid to go out alone, as she felt she was not a threat. This was the time she took for herself, to reflect on yesterday and plan for tomorrow!

Helen's most treasured times were spent with all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  She truly looked forward to the summer, spring and winter breaks, where she knew she could spend precious time with them. Going to Grandma's house was equivalent if not better than "Disney"!  There were unlimited treats & trips to the restaurant,  lottery scratch tickets, bingo, staying up all night playing video games, driving dirt bikes down the country roads, Pontiac Grand Prix driving lessons, tubing down the river, snowmobiling out to Check point 4, playing on the school bus, hunting prairie chickens with the BB guns, berry picking, eating fresh garden peas, watching the young and the restless, sketching, baking, playing with cousins all day long, driving the "old blue Datson" truck, round and round in the field until a mud track was made, drinking Grandmas special sweet tea, and last but not least , lots of  laughing while Grandma taught "Polish Slang".  Holiday's would end with memories of the delicious meals Helen so lovingly prepared for her grandchildren.  The famous "potato pancakes", delicious strawberry rhubarb pie and creamy vegetable soup as well as borscht with dumplings, lazy holopchi and the crunchy brown sugar dills!

Helen treasured spending time with her sons and their families, as well as her brother and his family. Many countless hours were spent cooking and baking for the occasion.  She always looked forward to Christmas, Easter, or just a weekend BBQ, it did not matter, as long as everyone was together. Some favorite memories were made at the numerous wiener roasts and sing-along's while sitting on the banks of the beautiful Birch River!

During the last few years, Helen enjoyed walking through the flower gardens at the Heritage Center, sitting in the beautiful white gazebo, having drinks and a plate of her favorite crispy chicken wings / fries at Hesplers Bar & Grill and enjoying some lively entertainment in the pavilion. Helen remained strong and independent until her final days of life! She was a beautiful person inside and out,and will be missed tremendously by all who knew her!

 

 

We love you and will dearly miss you!

Thank you for all you have done - you gave so much and asked so little!

Laugh, play your records and dance with your friends!

Until we meet again, Rest in Peace Mom

 

 

In Memory of Helen Nazar

Humble and Kind

(Tim McGraw)

 

You know there's a light that glows by the front door

Don't forget the key's under the mat

When childhood stars shine

Always stay humble and kind

 

Go to church 'cause your mamma says to

Visit Grandpa every chance that you can

It won't be wasted time

Always stay humble and kind

 

Hold the door, say "please", say "thank-you"

Don't steal, don't cheat and don't lie

I know you got mountains to climb

But always stay humble and kind

 

When the dreams you're dreaming come to you

When the work you put in is realized

Let yourself feel the pride

But always stay humble and kind

 

Don't expect a free ride from no one

Don't hold a grudge or a chip and here's why

Bitterness keeps you from flying

Always stay humble and kind

 

Know the difference between sleeping with someone

And sleeping with someone you love

"I love you ain't know pick up line

So always stay humble and kind

 

Hold the door, say "please", say "thank-you",

Don't steal, don't cheat and don't lie

I know you got mountains to climb

But always stay humble and kind

 

When those dreams you're dreaming come to you

When the work you put in is realized

Let yourself feel the pride

But always stay humble and kind

 

When it's hot, eat a root beer popsicle

Shut off the AC and roll the windows down

Let that summer sun shine

Always stay humble and kind

 

Don't take for granted the love this life gives you

When you get where you're going don't forget turn back around

And help the next one in line

Always stay humble and Kind