Obituary of Helen O'Brien
Helen Martha O’Brien (nee Tighe) died peacefully on Sunday, July 8, 2018 at the Houses of Providence, a few weeks short of her 88th birthday. Helen is survived by her devoted husband of 55 years, James, and her children Stephen (Lia) and Lynne (Jeff). She will be missed by her loving grandchildren, Will, Meghan, Sara and Noah, as well as her brother Jim (Dorothea), sister Anne and sisters-in-law, Irene, Lois and Dona. Predeceased by her sister Patricia. She will be fondly remembered by many nieces and nephews across the country and by friends from every stage of her life.
Helen was born in Ottawa on July 30, 1930. Her father died when she was young, leaving her mother Beatrice to raise four children in challenging times. Money was tight but there was lots of love, laughter – and pie – at the Tighe house. Helen spent many happy years in and around the Ottawa area, including at the cottage near Fitzroy Harbour which she bought with her sister Pat.
Helen and Jim met on a blind date arranged by Jim’s sister Irene and were married soon after in June, 1963. Jim was transferred west and they lived in Regina and Winnipeg where Helen was warmly welcomed into the extended O’Brien family. They eventually settled in Toronto where they raised their family and Helen spent several years working in schools as a volunteer and later as a classroom assistant. They lived in Toronto for 25 years before retiring to Guelph.
Helen had a kind, generous and creative spirit that blessed her family, friends, students and community with a constant supply of baking, an endless number of craft projects and an abundance of love. She was a tireless volunteer, a dedicated Brownie and Guide leader, a committed crafter and a wonderful wife, mother and granny.
Helen suffered from dementia for the past 10 years with grace and dignity. Through many confusing and stressful times, her loving nature was always present, often more concerned about others than she was about herself.
The family will always be grateful for the many people who cared for Helen during the last years of her life, particularly the staff at Providence and her extraordinary loving caregivers, Emma, Joy, Mary Jane, GiGi and Mari.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, July 12th at 7 p.m. in BLESSED TRINITY CHURCH, 3220 Bayview Avenue. Visitation at the church one hour prior to the Mass. A reception will follow at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Providence Healthcare Foundation.