Helen Esther Jankowski

Dec. 22, 1926 - Dec. 6, 2011

Helen E. Jankowski died prematurely at the young age of 84. She was born in Fillmore, Minn., was a well-loved Waukesha resident from 1956 to 1989, and recently returned to Waukesha after living out her retirement years in Temecula, Calif., until medical circumstances required her return home.

Helen is best known for her loving and joyous nature. Everyone that knew Helen felt her warmth, compassion and acceptance. She easily forgave and easily forgot, literally.

Her six children will remember her unconditional love and high standards of integrity. Her commitment to education and strong work ethic provided a positive role model.

Helen was a child of the Depression and grew up in poverty and faced many family struggles. Her positive attitude, strength and sense of humor empowered her to endure overwhelming challenges. She even wrote a book about her life story entitled "Who Shuffled These! The Story of How I Played the Hand I was Dealt."

After she was a nurse with the Veterans Hospital, where she met her husband, she started working at Waukesha Memorial Hospital. She eventually became an instructor in the Allied Health Department of Waukesha County Technical College for more than 20 years.

Her love for square dancing, travel, playing cards and using the computer continued into her retirement years. She enjoyed her retirement so much that she always said that she wished she had done her retirement first.

She was preceded in death by her parents and all of her six siblings, in addition to her husband, who passed away in 1982.

Helen is survived by her 100-year-old companion, Everett Greer, with whom she shared 10 happy years of playing canasta and being called "The Kid."

She is also survived by her six loving children and their spouses, David and Luanne Jankowski, Bill and Joanie Jankowski, Chris and Abdelkader Mrioued, Paul and Joan Jankowski, Dori and Dr. James Rota, and Walter Jankowski. Helen enjoyed 18 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. She also is survived by many nieces and nephews, many close friends, especially her best friend, Alice Ruthenberg.

Visitation will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at Church and Chapel, 380 Bluemound Road, Waukesha, followed by a service. All are welcome.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the education fund for Lauren and Brooke Mrioued, children of Helenís late grandson, Thami Mrioued.

For donation information, please call Chris Mrioued at 524-1676 or visit www.HelenJankowski.com.