Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Helen Wisneski, it is clear to see that her life was focused on her family first and foremost. She was gracious and kindhearted with an amazing sense of humor and laughter that was completely contagious. Blessed to share 60 years with the love of her life, Helen was filled with unspeakable joy to witness her family tree blossom to include the numerous branches of loved ones who made her so very proud. Whether during the peaks or during the valleys along her life’s journey, she was a woman who was content in all things. Vibrant and fun-loving, Helen was a blessing to everyone who knew her. She will be deeply missed but never forgotten.
It was great to be an American during the 1920s. Often recalled as the Roaring Twenties, innovation was taking us places we had never been. Cars were being mass produced on assembly lines, radios brought us our news, sports, and entertainment, and the silent film era came to an end. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1928 that was filled with great anticipation for Charles and Helen Pomarius as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as winter held the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, firmly in its grip that February. The big day finally arrived on the 27th when the baby girl they named Helen Eileen made her grand entrance. She was the seventh of eight children to be raised in the family home on Vinton Avenue in Comstock Park, joined by her older siblings, Charles, Lawrence, Dorothy, Warren J., Donald, and Calvin, and her younger sister, Marian. To support their family, her father worked as a painter while her mother was a busy homemaker. Helen and the rest of the Pomarius family were members of Alpine Baptist Church, and she attended local schools.
In many ways Helen was a young girl of her generation. She started earning some spending money babysitting neighbor children, and she later did some babysitting for families in East Grand Rapids. Helen also picked apples and did other odd jobs including serving at Greenridge Country Club. She had a deep love for the outdoors throughout her entire life, and for a time she was involved in the local 4-H. In fact, she loved the outdoors so much that she once skipped school to rake leaves and then burned them, nearly setting Pine Grove Cemetery on fire in the process! In school she loved to run and always raced during field days at school. As a young woman, Helen graduated from Comstock Park High School.
With her education behind her, Helen was eager for all that life had in store. She initially worked in a factory where she made gas cans, but she later took a job at Knapp and Vogt Mfgr and RC Allen, which proved to be quite fateful as it was there that she met the young man of her dreams. His name was Norman Wisneski, and sparks flew right from the start. They began dating, and soon Helen and Norm found themselves deeply in love. About a year after meeting, the sweethearts were married on November 17, 1955, at St. Adalbert’s Church on the West side with a reception at Westwood Ranch House on West River Drive.
Following a honeymoon in Detroit, the newlyweds returned to Grand Rapids. They rented an apartment on Fourth and Lane. Later on, they moved to an apartment on Alpine Avenue and then to an apartment on Crosby Avenue before buying their one and only home on Fuller Avenue in 1960. This was the place Helen called home for the rest of her life. Together Helen and Norm welcomed five children including Debbie, Robert, Susan, Daniel, and Sandy into their hearts and home. The Wisneski kids all attended Northviview High School, and both parents were active in all aspects of their children’s their lives. Family vacations were usually spent in the camper, traveling all over Northern Michigan, and they also visited her brother’s home who owned a cabin resort in Cedarville, Michigan, each year in the summer.
Although caring for her family was always first and foremost, Helen also busied herself in other ways. She was a fierce competitor when it came to radio contests as she was always entering some sort of contest any time she had the radio on. Over the years Helen won numerous prizes including a diamond pendant and trip to California! She had an amazing green thumb and loved spending time outside tending to her flowers. She especially loved caring for her caster bean flowers and her canna lillies that were originally from her mother and were in Helen’s care for over 60 years. Helen had numerous other flowers as well. She also picked and canned tomatoes each year. She could be sentimental at times, especially when it came to anything that was given to her as a gift as she never could part with any of them.
Later in life, Helen continued to embrace the days that were given to her. She adored all of her grandchildren and was always there for any school, sporting event, or special day. In addition, Helen never forgot their birthdays. During their retirement years, Helen and Norm visited places like Florida, Arizona, New Orleans, Montana, and several national parks. They also took a cruise with their family along with the Prawdzik Family. Helen loved to play bingo at area churches and visiting the casinos. On one occasion, she and Norm each won $2500.00 on the same night! Helen loved visiting the local halls during Pulaski Days as she loved dancing the polka.
About a month ago, life was forever changed for Helen and her loved ones when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. There was little that could be done, and she spent her remaining time being close to her loving family.
With unending love for her family and friends, Helen Wisneski lived a life of purpose each day. She enjoyed so many things and experienced some of the best things that life has to offer, but what made these experiences truly extraordinary was sharing them with the ones she loved. A devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Helen had a special way of making each family member feel like they were the most important person in the world. Life will never be the same without her here, but her timeless legacy will be proudly carried on by those who follow in her footsteps.
Helen Eileen Wisneski (Pomarius), aged 87 of Grand Rapids, passed away at her home, following a brief illness, on Saturday October 31, 2015, with her loving family by her side. Mom was so thankful for her loving family and friends which she considered as special treasured love, and gifts from God. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Norman Wisneski; her children, Debbie and Steve Prawdzik, Bob and Marceline Wisneski, Susan Wisneski, Dan and Lisa Wisneski, Sandy and Dave Wolters; her grandchildren, Danielle, Rachel, Lauren and Scott Prawdzik , Jack and Evan Wisneski, Breanna, Rebekah and Trevor Wisneski, Alexa Wolters; her brother, Calvin Pomarius; many nieces, nephews and friends. Helen was a loving and dedicated wife, mother, grandmother, sister and a friend to all who knew her, she will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. A service to celebrate Helen’s life will be held on Wednesday, November 4, at 11:00 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Burial in Holy Cross Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet her family at the funeral home on Tuesday from 5:00 – 8:00 PM and again on Wednesday from 10:00 am until the service begins at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to faith Hospice. To read more about Helen’s life, to sign her guest book and to leave your own memory of her, visit her web page at www.lifestorynet.com