Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Helen Josephine Whitburn

BESSEMER, Mich. - Helen Josephine Whitburn, age 92, of Bessemer, took Jesus' hand home on March 22, 2022. She was born on Feb. 4, 1930, to her mother and father, Orsolina and Inocente Corozolla in Vulcan, and lovingly raised from infancy by her Mom and Dad, Louis and Agnes Barbacovi in Bessemer, along with her Barbacovi sisters and brother.

Helen attended Bessemer area schools graduating with the A.D. Johnston High School class of 1949. She enjoyed music and excelled as a soprano in choral ensembles. On Feb. 18, 1950, she wed Jerald Wilczewski and moved to their new home in Ramsay. There they began their family with the birth of their son, David. They were married for seven years until Jerald's tragic death in a cave in at the Montreal Mine in 1957.

Helen married her second husband, Walter E. Whitburn, on June 23, 1961. Together, they made their home in Ramsay, adding two more sons, Walter J. and Thomas to their young family. They were blessed with 20 years together until his death in 1981.

Helen was a dedicated, loving wife and mother raising her three boys. She loved spending time as a family at their cottage on Stateline Lake in Presque Isle, Wisconsin. Her favorite times were days in the fall spent partridge hunting with her husband, Walt, and still went hunting with her son, Walter, at the age of 91! She had sharp eyes and never missed spotting a bird for her hunters.

After Walt's death in 1981, Helen worked for 11 years at Keenagers in Wakefield until her retirement. She enjoyed the residents and took pride in helping them. Upon her retirement, Helen moved to Iron Mountain, to spend more time with her siblings in that area. She treasured getting to know her many siblings and cousins on the Corozolla side. In 2006, she returned to Bessemer to spend her later years in the area she loved and grew up in.

Helen enjoyed craft work and sewing. Her artistry in embroidered tapestry pieces were heirloom treasures and she gifted many of them to family and friends. She loved music and the opera, especially the Glen Miller Orchestra, the Three Tenors and was overjoyed to see a live Broadway performance of her ultimate favorite, "The Phantom of the Opera."

Helen was a devout Catholic, a former member of Christ the King Catholic Church in Ramsay and St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Bessemer. She cherished her parish family deeply. Her love of God was a constant in her life as she prayed her rosary daily and sought only the good in all. She loved her many friends who called, came to visit, attended Bible study with or visited for coffee and sweets. Helen was a true friend for decades to many and was always kind and compassionate to all she had the pleasure of knowing.

Helen's greatest joy was spending time with her family. She took many trips around the country to see her children and her grandchildren. Her love was endless and she was so very proud of each and every one of them and their achievements. Helen attended every graduation, special occasion and many Sunday and holiday dinners with them. She adored her grandchildren and made treasured memories every time her grandchildren came to see her.

Helen now celebrates her eternal heavenly life with her parents, husbands, brothers, sisters and numerous extended family and friends. She is survived by her loving sons, David (Glenda) Wilczewski, Walter (Kathy) Whitburn and Thomas (Laurie) Whitburn; and her devoted grandchildren, Elizabeth Whitburn, Keith Whitburn, Tyler Whitburn and Derek Whitburn. She is further survived by her sisters, Dorothy Lindlbauer and Vicky Rock; many dear nephews, nieces and cousins; and very special friend, Jerald Rocco.

Cards of condolence may be sent in care of Walter Whitburn, 13446 State Highway M-64, Marenisco, MI 49947. The family wishes to thank the caring staff of Westgate Nursing Facility and Avanti Home Health teams, Father Dominic Agyapong, the St. Sebastian Catholic Church family, and all who visited and cared for Helen over the past several years allowing her to spend as long as possible in her home. We are most grateful for your kindness.

As with her wishes, cremation has taken place and full services to celebrate Helen's life will be held later this summer with announcements to be made closer to that time.

Arrangements have been entrusted with our dear friend, Jerald Rocco, owner and manager of Lakeside Memorial Chapel Inc., in Wakefield. To send online condolences, please go to

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