It is with deep sorrow our family announces the passing of Helena (Helen) Vanderlans on 1 January 2022 in her 95th year (1927 - 2022). Helen is survived by her daughter Marjorie Chmiel, son-in-law Joe Chmiel, and her son, Rick. Helen is also survived by her brother, Kees, in Holland. She will be remembered by many nieces and nephews from Lisse and Eindhoven in the Netherlands. She was predeceased by her husband Ted (2020), her parents, as well as 10 other brothers and sisters.
Helen began her life in the village of Lisse, The Netherlands. As a young girl, she withstood the many oppressive actions imposed by the German army on the citizens of Holland. After the war, she was involved in many athletic activities including long distance running and competitive gymnastics.
After immigrating to Canada from Holland with Ted in 1953, Helen worked at many different jobs. She worked for several years on a local tobacco farm doing various jobs involved in the growing and harvesting of tobacco. She cleaned houses for many in the Burford area. She cooked and served French Fries at George’s French Fry stand in downtown Brantford. She was a talented sewer, knitter and chrocheter and won numerous prizes at the Burford Fair and at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. These talents led her to a job at Mary Maxim in Paris where she spent many years helping fellow knitters and crocheters with their dropped stitches. She spent countless hours herself knitting and crocheting sweaters, socks, scarves, afghans, baby outfits etc. for family and friends as well as for local bazaars and charities. Helen was involved for many years with the Dutch Club and Dutch Village in Brantford. She volunteered preparing and serving meals at Blessed Sacrament Hall in Burford and was a life time member of the Catholic Women’s League.
Helen was a straight shooter with a very practical outlook on life. She always enjoyed a good joke, a game of cards, an interesting book, all types of music, a fun party and spending time with friends. The ravages of dementia eventually robbed Helen of her sharp memory, although even to her passing Helen maintained her great sense of humour and sharp wit.
As per her last wishes, there will be no visitation or funeral service. Our family is planning for a celebration of life in the upcoming year for both Helen and Ted. These arrangements have been entrusted to Keith Ovington Funeral Home in Burford. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Stedman Community Hospice/Hankinson House in Brantford, Ontario or a charity of your choice.
Our thanks to Dr. Kahlra and all the staff of Brierwood Gardens for their compassion and care of our mother during the final years of her life.