WAKEFIELD, Mich. - Helen E. Bruno, 86, a lifelong resident of Wakefield, passed away peacefully Monday evening, Jan. 27, 2014.
She was born on Aug. 30, 1927, in Wakefield, the daughter of Emil and Hilda Jarvela. Helen graduated from Wakefield High School with the class of 1945.
On June 1, 1946, she was united in marriage to Oreste J. Bruno at First Lutheran Church in Wakefield by the Rev. S.V. Autere. Together they raised two sons, John and Peter.
Helen worked as a clerk and bookkeeper for the Wakefield Co-op for many years.
As her sons grew and left home for college, she began to further her own education. With Oreste's support and encouragement, Helen earned an associate degree from Gogebic Community College and subsequently a Bachelor of Science and Master of Education from Northern Michigan University.
Helen began her new career teaching at Gogebic Community College for the next 20 years in both the business department and vocational technical department. She took great pride in teaching her students new skills and assisted many of them in obtaining well-paying careers.
Helen did not slow down after retiring from teaching. She owned and operated Helen's Bridal Shop in Ironwood and later in Bessemer. She also assisted in managing the Wakefield Co-op.
Helen was an active member of All Saints Lutheran Church. Over the years, she participated in the choir and the church council. She also served the church on the regional and national level.
Helen was fiercely proud of her Finnish heritage. She made several trips to Finland with son, John, to meet relatives. They toured the country also visiting the birthplaces of her parents. She enjoyed relating the story of first meeting her Finnish cousins. They had a little trouble understanding each other. They laughed and told her that she spoke "Old Finn!"
Helen will be best remembered by her quick smile, her boundless love and energy and the encouragement she gave to her family, friends and students.
Helen is survived by a son, Dr. Peter (Cindy), Alma; and two grandsons, Peter Jr. (Laura), Portage, Ind ., and Anthony, San Francisco. The final great joy of her life was the birth and subsequently meeting over the past Fourth of July, Peter and Laura's first child, Helen's first great-granddaughter, Adelina Elizabeth. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Julia Bruno, Wakefield; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Helen was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 59 years, Oreste, on May 23, 2005; her son, John, on May 6, 2011; her parents; her stepfather, August Koski; three brothers, Wayne, John and Leonard, in infancy; and a sister, Hildegard (Heino) Seppa.
A funeral service will be held Friday, Jan. 31, at 11 a.m ., preceded by visitation at 10 a.m ., at All Saints Lutheran Church in Wakefield, with the Rev. Bill Jacobson officiating.
Pallbearers will be her family.
A luncheon will take place immediately following the service in the church fellowship hall.
Interment will be in Lakeside Cemetery, Wakefield, in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Helen's name may be made to All Saints Lutheran Church, 1202 Putnam St ., Wakefield MI 49968.
Lakeside Memorial Chapel in Wakefield is assisting the family. Expressions of sympathy may be offered at lakesidememorialchapel.com.