Helen Frances (nee Johnston) Mensch passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at the Russell Personal Care Home (RPCH) at the age of 89. Helen was one of three children and was born on November 23, 1929 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to George and Eileen Johnston, who immigrated from Ireland. She was received by the Lord through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism at St. Mark's Anglican Church in Winnipeg and confirmed into the Anglican faith at St. Mark's.
Helen grew up in St. Vital on Elm Park Road in Winnipeg. She attended Windsor Elementary School and started her piano lessons as a young girl. She graduated from Glenlawn Collegiate where she developed her secretarial skills and was employed for 23 years at Ash Downs Wholesale Hardware in Winnipeg. During this time, she sang with the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir which fostered her love of music.
On April 24, 1971 she was united in marriage to Robert (Bob) Mensch of Shellmouth, Manitoba. Helen & Bob lived on their farm for 22 years raising cattle and grain farming until Bob's passing. They were members of Bethany Lutheran Church in Inglis, MB. During their years together they operated the R & H Farm Ltd., a grain & livestock trucking business. Over the years, Bob & Helen enjoyed trips to the Holy Land (Jerusalem, Egypt, & Israel), Ireland, England, and many trips to Ottawa and British Columbia.
In the fall of 1993, Helen retired to Russell, MB. She was an active member of Grace Lutheran Church as organist, lector, church council and held various local and provincial positions with the Evangelical Lutheran Women (ELW) and participated in many Bible Study sessions. Helen graciously gave of her time to many volunteer organizations including Russell Donor's Choice, Manitoba Women's Institute, the Widow's Group and the Russell Personal Care Home – where she provided the gift of music many days in a week for Rhythm Band, Church Services, Easy Listening Music and Bible Study. She enjoyed the opportunities to provide the music at various Hoffenthal Church services. She was an avid reader of current events and the Royal family. She was proud to see the Queen in Melville and Princess Anne in Regina. In her last few years, Helen enjoyed the events of the Adult Day Program (ADP) at the RPCH which led to the transition to resident of RPCH in January 2018. Throughout her life music brought great joy to her and it will be her piano playing for which she will be remembered. In retirement, Helen travelled to many places including: Europe, the Atlantic provinces, Ottawa, Nashville, Yukon, North West Territories, & Alaska, but her favourite spot was her annual winter trip to Victoria, BC with her dear friend Nan Christie from Winnipeg.
Helen was predeceased by her husband Bob (1993), mother Eileen (nee Thompson) (1968), father George Johnston (1973), sister Nora (1934), brother Henry (Hank) (1999) and his wife Teresa (Terry) Johnston (2013) - Ottawa, father and mother-in-law Jack (1987) and Martha Mensch (1989), sister-in-law Ruth (2015) and her husband Jerry Andres (1997) and their daughter Joyce (1979) - Kelowna, brothers-in-law Art (2018) - Steinbach & Alvin Mensch (2009) - Winnipeg.
She leaves to mourn extended Johnston and Thompson cousins in Canada and Ireland, her sister-in-law Angeline Mensch of Steinbach, sister-in-law Lois Mensch of Winnipeg, & sister-in-law Doris & brother-in-law Gordon Mensch of Langenburg. Also left to mourn her passing are her nephew: Kevin Mensch, and 8 nieces: Joan (Bob) Beddoes, Debbie (Doug) Harms (Tanner & Christel (Luka) & Brendan), Lynn & Laurie Mensch, Karen (Warren) Pokrant (Caleigh & Eric (Jackson) & Brianna), Kirsten (Kelly) Switzer (William & Dawson) and Twyla & Tricia Mensch.
Funeral Service at Grace Lutheran Church in Russell, MB with interment to follow at Hoffenthal Cemetery located 14 km north of Marchwell, SK then 1 km west. If friends so wish, donations in Helen's memory may be made to Grace Lutheran Church in Russell, MB, or the Hoffenthal Cemetery Fund c/o Family and Friends Community Foundation, Langenburg, SK or a charity of your choice. Envelopes available.
Helen was very proud of her Irish heritage. A special highlight each year was receiving St. Patrick's Day greetings from her family and friends. One of her favourite readings was this Irish Blessing:
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Grace Lutheran Church Memorial Fund, Russell
Russell MB R0J 1W0
Family and Friends Community Foundation c/o Hoffenthal Cememtery Fund
P.O. Box 800, Langenburg SK S0A 2A0