July 23, 1924 – March 8, 2022
Helena Braun was the second daughter of Abram and Helena Braun. She was born July 23, 1924 in Waldeck, Saskatchewan. In 1925, the family moved to a farm in the Balmoral – Stonewall area of Manitoba. The family later migrated west and she joined them in 1947, settling in Greendale.
Helena was a long-time member of Greendale MB Church. She enjoyed singing in the church choir and Bethel Choir. Faith in Jesus shaped her life.
Helena attended one-room country schools in the elementary grades, the Convent of the Gray Nuns (Ste Anne) for two years, and Gretna Mennonite Collegiate for Grade XII. A year of “Permit” teaching (salary $850 a year) was followed by teacher training at Winnipeg Normal School.
Her career encompassed a one-room school in Manitoba, elementary and Junior high classrooms, and work as a Primary Consultant and Principal in B.C. Terms of teaching were interspersed with study at UBC and Winnipeg MB Bible College.
Helena’s life was enriched by travel. She visited Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, much of the USA, and Canada from sea to sea. After World War II, she spent two terms as an overseas volunteer with the Mennonite Central Committee: 1952-1954 in a children’s home in Germany and 1958-1960 with MCC’s Christian Literature programme based in Basel, Switzerland.
In 1966 Helena built a home in Sardis—perhaps the first woman to be granted a building permit in Chilliwack. She retired there in 1979, beginning a new adventure in book publishing. She published biographies and also recorded the history of her forefathers for the family.
In 1997 she moved to Emerald Court apartments, where she wrote her memoir High Wind Flowing. Her family histories and her own recorded story reveal the extraordinariness of her apparently ordinary life.
While great nieces and great nephews may have resisted Helena’s efforts to expose them to higher culture (quilt shows and concerts), they benefitted from her humility, generosity, insight, and wisdom.
Helena’s later years were spent at Birchwood and, eventually, Cascade Lodge, where she passed peacefully the evening of March 8, 2022.
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