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Helen Zacharias

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Helen Zacharias

November 11, 1955 - November 5, 2022

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Helena “Helen” Zacharias nee Guenther passed away, surrounded by her family, on November 5, 2022 after a long, hard fought battle with cancer.
She is survived by her husband, Pete; daughter Michelle (Penner) and her husband Rob and grandchildren Bailey, Cassidy and Tyler; son Shawn; son Mark and his wife Margaret, and grandchildren Alex, Malachi and Sophia; daughter Holly (Launier) and her husband Phil, and grandchildren Logan, Lucas and Lexis; her mother Helen Guenther (nee Dyck), two sisters, MaryAnn (John) Wieler, Tina (Ed) Schapansky and three brothers, John (Martha) Guenther, Dick (Cathy) Guenther, Peter (Lena) Guenther; three sisters-in-law, six brothers-in-law, and many special nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
She was predeceased by her father Bernard (Ben) Guenther, and brother Henry Guenther, both in summer 2022.
Helen was born to Ben and Helen Guenther on November 11, 1955 in Colony Sommerfeld, Paraguay and was the second oldest of seven children. In 1967, Ben and Helen moved the family to Winkler, Manitoba when Helen was 11 years old. It was a hard adjustment for her and she faced many challenges in the first years of being in a new country. In Spring of 1972, circumstances led her to meet a young man from Altona named Pete, and it was love at first sight. It only took a couple of dates for her to be sure that her future included Pete, and on September 3, 1972, they were married in Altona. In March of 1973, Michelle was born. Helen was always amazing with kids, and especially loved babies, so she was a natural at motherhood. When Michelle was about six months old, they made the move to Winkler where they lived for the next 24 years. On May 25, 1975, Helen was baptized on the confession of her faith at the Sommerfeld Mennonite Church in Winkler. In April 1976, Shawn was born, followed by Mark in June 1978 and Holly in October 1982. Helen’s family was always her first priority, and the decision was made for her to stay at home with her children, though she also worked part time jobs at various food establishments over the years. Helen always had a huge heart for people, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who had something negative to say about her. The love of God truly shined through her and she always wanted the best for everyone. Helen could often be quite shy, and didn’t like being in the spotlight, so it was quite a step out of her comfort zone when she took on the role of president of Ladies Fellowship at Grace Mennonite Church in Winkler in the early 90’s. She also worked some weekends in the recreation department at Salem Home during those years. In Spring of 1997, Helen and Pete made a huge decision and in late June, that year, they made the move to Oliver, BC, along with Shawn, Mark and Holly. Helen and Pete were inseparable, and she was a huge support for Pete as he battled many serious health problems over the years. It was not an easy road after they moved to BC, and they faced challenge after challenge, but she took on every new challenge without complaint. One thing that always remained constant was their love for each other. Not everyone can honestly say that their spouse is their best friend, but there is not a shred of doubt that Helen and Pete were just that. They spent many happy years going on motorcycle trips and other road trips; often quite spontaneously. Helen loved the ocean, and her favourite place was the Oregon Coast. She also loved spending time in Vancouver, and driving across the border to Omak, Washington just to go to her favourite Mexican Restaurant. She also made three trips to Belize to see Mark and his family after each of their three children were born. She was also able to realize her dream of a trip to Mexico in February of 2020. Her and Pete also made frequent trips back to Manitoba over the years to see Michelle and Rob and their family. When she first found out she was going to become a grandma, she could hardly contain her excitement, and her only disappointment when Bailey was born was that he came 9 days early, so she was unable to witness his birth as she had planned. She did, however, get to be present for four of her grandchildren’s births. She loved her grandchildren more than anything, and she made sure she was a part of countless important moments like concerts, graduations, hockey games, dance recitals, as well as simple moments like getting on the floor to play and reading stories to them in bed. So many precious memories were made that will live on through her grandchildren. In February of 2012, Helen had her first surgery for lung cancer, and after removing the upper right lobe, the doctor felt confident that they got it all, and she had many good years, other than a chronic cough that developed after that surgery. On October 31, 2018, she was told that she was still cancer-free, but by late November it was discovered that she in fact had stage 4 lung cancer. She was initially told that she had “up to two years”, but we were blessed to have her for about two weeks short of four years after that second diagnosis. She was never someone to be underestimated, and she blew through every “deadline” that doctors gave her over the years. She faced her illness with a strength and bravery that seem unimaginable, and she continued to exude the love of God through even the most difficult moments. On October 17, the difficult decision was made to move her into hospice in Penticton once her physical needs became too great to care for her adequately at home any longer. She struggled to adjust, but even in her weakest moments, she showed care and concern for others who crossed her path during that time. Some of the staff in hospice expressed that they could just feel the peace and love every time they entered her room. What a testament to who she was! At 12:40pm on Saturday, November 5, Helen finally got to meet her beloved saviour face to face, and we rejoice that she can once again experience the “liquid love” of God that she dreamed about many weeks ago. Helen has fought the good fight and finished her race.
A memorial service for Helen will be held on Thursday, November 10, 2:00 pm at the Oliver Alliance Church.
The family would like to thank the Palliative Home Health team, especially Liza and Carmen, as well as Dr. Bannerman and the wonderful and caring staff at Andy Moog & Friends Hospice House in Penticton. A special thank you also goes to Dr. Travis Thompson in Oncology at Penticton Regional Hospital as well as Respirologist Dr. Bradly Biagioni. The care and compassion you showed Helen was greatly appreciated.
Condolences and tributes may be directed to the family by visiting www.nunes-pottinger.com

Condolences

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Pages: 12

From: Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service & Crematorium Ltd.

The Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service & Crematorium Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Diana Warkentin
Relation: I worked with Mark and Margaret at Walmart

My sincerest condolences to Pete and the kids. She was such a sweet woman, always smiling when I saw her and radiated when talking about the family. I know she will be missed dearly by you all

From: Elsie Zacharias
Relation: Cousin of her spouse Pete

Pete and family. My heart and prayers go out to you during this hard time. Helen left a wonderful testimony for all. Cherish the love and good times. Till we meet again

From: Jennifer Zacharias
Relation: Aunt

Aunt Helen will be missed greatly, she was such a kind hearted loving lady. She loved her family and was committed . a long lasting marriage defiantly to admire, I hope someday to find someone who will also want the same ! The way it should be. sending love and warm hugs

From: Liz Enns
Relation: Old friends from Winkler.

Pete and family, my deepest condolences on the loss of this precious lady. May God’s peace sustain you.

From: Kathy and Oliver
Relation: Cousin

Condolences to Pete ,Michelle,Shawn,Mark and Holly and all the grandkids and in-laws.
We feel so blessed to have so many happy and cherished memories with Helen and the family. The very last time I saw Helen was at the end of September this year. The visit with her and Pete and Michelle was very special and meaningful. Helen was so sweet and was trying so hard to stay awake and listen with all her attention to our conversation . She had a smile and her eyes were so soft when I would look in her direction. It was such a special visit and I feel so blessed to have seen her one last time. She is now in paradise and I am so happy there is no more pain . Your legacy remains in your family and your memory will live in our hearts. Rest In Peace , hugs to the family as you mourn your loss.

From: Dale Dueck
Relation: Friend from Winkler Manitoba

Peter and family, our heartfelt condolences to you all. May you experience God’s nearness and care as you remember Helen.

Dale & Lori Dueck

From: Larry and Bertha Wiebe
Relation: Pete is my cousin. Our mothers were sisters.

So very sorry to hear of Helen’s passing. May God give you peace and comfort you all during this very difficult time. I pray you feel his ever nearness now and in the days to come as you continueon your journey without your wife, mom, and grandma. God bless you all.

From: Ike and Agatha Guenther
Relation: Good friend and distance cousin on Ike side.

Our deepest condolences to Pete and your family! Our thoughts and prayers are with you Pete and your family! May you Pete feel the comfort and strength of the Lord in this difficult time!

From: Leah Elias
Relation: Friend

Pete, our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. 🙏

Alvin & Leah Elias

Pages: 12

Service Schedule

  Memorial Service

Date & Time:
November 10, 2022
Beginning at 2:00pm

Location:
Oliver Alliance Church
6835 Leighton Crescent
Oliver, BC Canada

A memorial service for Helen will be held on Thursday, November 10, 2:00 pm at the Oliver Alliance Church.

6835 Leighton Crescent
Oliver, BC Canada

Memorial Gifts

The family has not designated a preferred charity at this time.

Thank You Notice

he family would like to thank the Palliative Home Health team, especially Liza and Carmen, as well as Dr. Bannerman and the wonderful and caring staff at Andy Moog & Friends Hospice House in Penticton. A special thank you also goes to Dr. Travis Thompson in Oncology at Penticton Regional Hospital as well as Respirologist Dr. Bradly Biagioni. The care and compassion you showed Helen was greatly appreciated.

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