Helen MacKenzie

MACKENZIE, Helen Edna Winifred Grant


Helen, widow of Ian Angus Blanchard Mackenzie, died in the early hours of Monday, February 12, 2018, in her room at Kensington Gardens in Toronto, a few days after she had reached the milestone age of 98.  Helen will be dearly missed by her sons, Hugh (Cathy Lace) and Hector (Kathy Giles); and her grandchildren Alyssa (Stefan Fergus), Owen, Gwyneth, Anna and Sarah (Jack McVeigh).  She is mourned as well by her sister Ruth Grant Rafuse of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and her nephews, Paul Rafuse (Krista), Peter Rafuse (Mary) and Philip Rafuse (Monica) as well as by other family and friends, though the sadness is eased by happy memories.


Helen was born and raised in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. She was the first person in the town to go to university — King’s College at Dalhousie, where she met Ian. She lived most of her adult life near and then in Don Mills. Once both sons reached high school, she leapt at the chance to become an elementary school teacher, working for most of that career at Grenoble Drive P.S. After her retirement, she devoted herself to her beloved grandchildren, her extraordinary garden, her friends and neighbours and her lifelong passion for tilting at windmills.


She was generous and enthusiastic and appreciative of kindnesses, large and small, and she dispensed them herself without stint.  She was brilliant, funny, loyal, eccentric, opinionated and fiercely determined, characteristics that live on in the wonderful memories she has left us. She greatly appreciated the kind and attentive care of the staff of Kensington Gardens in her final years.


Her family will be hosting a celebration of her life at 11:00 a.m. on March 8, 2018 at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church, 1 Greenland Road, Don Mills.


In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Kensington Foundation, 25 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto in recognition of the wonderful care she received there in the last years of her life.  Condolences, photographs and memories may be forwarded through www.humphreymilesnewbigging.com.