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Official Obituary of

Helene (Sawatsky) Zeliznik

June 26, 1927 ~ March 28, 2024 (age 96) 96 Years Old

Helene Zeliznik Obituary

Mrs. Helene Zeliznik of Lacombe, Alberta passed away on Thursday, March 2024 at the age of 96 years.

Helene is survived by her daughters, Debra Schroeder and Valerie Garding (Barry), her son-in-law, Glen Bird (Robin), her grandchildren, Kurt Schroeder (Lyn), Angel Kehler-Martin, Amy French (Brad), Laura Garding, and Benjamin Bird (Erica, her great grandchildren, Nicolas Andreeff (Laina), Lucas Andreeff (Audrey), Katarina Galloway (Andrew), Angelica Saghir (Donavon), Alexa Andreeff (Spencer), Evan Schroeder, Noah Schroeder, Jaymz Kehler, Alex Garding,  Danielle Bird, Jacob Bird, Lumen French, Mariah Garding, Sommer Garding, and her seven great, great grandchildren, Lennon and Elowen Galloway, Rowan, Briar and Ciaran Andreeff, Amira and William Saghir, as well as by many nieces, nephews and their families. Helene was predeceased (in order of their passing) by her parents Katharina Deorksen and Gerhart Sawatzky, her beloved husband, William Zeliznik, her first granddaughter, Christy Andreeff, her son-in-law, Gunther Schroeder (Debra), her daughter, Robin Bird (Glen),  and her great-grandson, Christopher Kehler. She was also predeceased by her eight siblings and many nieces and nephews.

Helene, was born in Gull Lake, Saskatchewan, to Katharina and Gerhart Sawatzky. She was the middle of nine children, the first to be born in Canada, after her parents and maternal grandparents emigrated from Russia. Helene grew up on a farm and travelled by horse and buggy to the one-room school she attended. In 1944, at only seventeen, Helene attended Normal School in Moose Jaw, SK, before beginning her first job as the teacher in a one room school. The next year she attended Summer School in Saskatoon. In 1947, while teaching grade 6 in Rosemary, AB, Helene met William Zeliznik, a CPR station agent. They married on August 22, 1949 and honeymooned in Niagara Falls. Their first home was in Golden Prairie, SK, where Helene taught school and where their daughters, Deb and Val, were born. In 1957 they moved to Clive, AB, where their youngest daughter Robin was born. As Helene had begun teaching with only Normal School training, during this time she continued to attend evening classes and summer school and was awarded her B.Ed degree in 1976. After Bill retired in 1970, the family moved to Lacombe, AB. Helene taught grade three until her retirement in 1986. They lived for a short time in Legacy Estates in Red Deer, AB, but after Bill’s passing, Helene moved to Lake Country, BC to be closer to her daughter Valerie. She returned to Lacombe, in 2013 where she lived with her daughter Debra, until moving to Royal Oak Village for the final years of her life. She will be remembered there for her beautiful smile.

Helene was a woman of faith. Born into a Mennonite family who fled religious persecution in Russia, she became a Christian in her early teens. This experience transformed her life. Her faith in God helped her through some very difficult times as she knew she could do “all things, through Christ who strengthened her”. She was always kind, generous and loving. She was also ambitious, energetic and talented. She did everything with excellence and expected her children to live by the motto, “Good, Better, Best, never let it rest. Till the good is better and the better best!” She sewed, knit, cooked, canned and entertained with unending enthusiasm. Her angelfood cakes, saskatoon pies, cinnamon buns and good cooking were legendary. Helene loved children. She enriched the lives of her own children, their friends and her students. Her nieces and nephews enjoyed their visits and Aunty Helene was much loved. Helene was an active person. She walked, jogged and hiked, went on numerous camping adventures, skated and organized tobogganing parties and even learned to ski in her forties when she was taking Robin to the mountains. Her love of reading, writing, education and most importantly of God will be a lasting legacy.

The family would like to thank her primary care physician, Dr. K. Unger; Corry Vander Scheer, her special companion and friend; and all those staff members at Royal Oak who provided loving care for Helene both during her years there and at the end of her life.

We will say our final goodbyes at a Graveside Service on Friday, April 5, 2024 at 3:00pm at the Fairview Cemetery, Lacombe.

Memorial Donations can be made to The Mustard Seed (Red Deer) https://theseed.ca , or The Hope Mission https://hopemission.com/reddeer/









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Graveside Service
April 5, 2024

3:00 PM
Lacombe Fairview Cemetery
4430 Woodland Drive
Lacombe, AB T4L 2G5


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