May 10, 1924 – May 30, 2021
In Loving Memory ~
We have lost another pioneer woman of the Cariboo. It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Helen Johnson, at age 97, a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend.
Helen Roskewich was born in Perryvale Alberta in 1924. In 1933, Helen’s mother Kathleen moved her and her three siblings (Carl, Betty and Pauline) to Abbotsford-Mount Lehman, BC to farm berries. It is there that Helen graduated from high school.
Helen married Rudy Johnson on December 23rd, 1943 and settled in the area until 1947 when they moved to Williams Lake with their two children Gary and Janice. Helen and Rudy went on to have four more children, twins Randy and Bob, then Don and finally Debby.
Helen was a partner and equal to Rudy in work and play. They had many entrepreneurial endeavors from sawmills, motels, airways, construction, bowling alleys, ranching and many other ventures.
For 77 endearing years, until Helen’s final day, they shared their love for each other with a nightly harmonica serenade given by Rudy, followed by a goodnight kiss.
In 1962, while living on Buckskin Ranch on the west side of the Fraser River, Helen fell from the Soda Creek Ferry into the river, unable to swim, she nearly drowned. This initiated the building of the Rudy Johnson Bridge.
Helen and Rudy retired in 1990, selling the ranch and building a home on the shore of Williams Lake, where they spent time with family and friends until Helen moved into Williams Lake Seniors Village in 2015.
Helen was as tough and resilient as they come; she was humble, caring, funny, sassy with a quick and witty sense of humour and she was known to be mischievous with the grandchildren. Throughout Helen’s life, her happiest moments were spent with family, her greatest joy always came from the children.
Helen loved gardening (both flowers and vegetables), knitting, being outside with the horses and cows, good food, teaching others to cook, a cold beer on a hot summer’s day, a glass of wine with dinner and a good cup of coffee at any time. Oh, and BACON, lots and lots of bacon!!!
Helen was predeceased by her mother, Kathleen Roskewich, brother Carl Rosk, sister Betty Bruce, son Gary Johnson, daughter Janice Smigelsky, grandson Stuart Johnson and great grandson Colton Johnson.
Helen leaves loving memories with her husband Rudy, sister Pauline McBurney, her children, Randy Johnson (Donna), Bob Johnson (Janet), Don Johnson (Narni), Debby Fisher (Alan), daughter-in-law Ruth Johnson and son-in-law Bob Smigelsky. Helen also leaves behind ten grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Helen will be greatly missed and remembered forever.
To the care aides and nurses who cared for Helen at the Williams Lake Seniors Village, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for the exceptional love and care you have shown her.
Condolences may be sent to Rudy and the family at firstname.lastname@example.org. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the BC Cancer Foundation or Central Cariboo Hospice Society.
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