Constance ‘Connie’ Helnore, 65

Constance "Connie" Helnore (nee Oliva), 65, of Cedarburg, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Jan. 4, 2013, at the age of 65.

Connie was born in Milwaukee on Aug. 4, 1947, to Paul and Josephine (nee Anastasi) Oliva, who both preceded her in death. She was a 1965 graduate of Rufus King High School in Milwaukee. She was united in marriage to the love of her life, James "Jim" Helnore, on Feb. 17, 1990, at Unitarian Church North in Mequon.

Connie is survived by her beloved husband of 22 years, Jim; three children, Bob (Josefina) Luy of Cedarburg, Kelly (Steve) Groppe of Cedarburg and Stephanie (Mark) Balthazor of Random Lake; seven grandchildren whom she dearly loved, Alex, Courtney, Nathan, Meghan, Andrew, Leslie, and Daisy; and one beautiful great-grandchild, Maya.

Connie is further survived by her mother-in-law, Judy Helnore of Cedarburg; brothers, John (Kathie) Oliva of South Milwaukee and Tom (Joan) Oliva of Cedarburg; brothers-in-law, Jerry Helnore of Wasilla, Alaska; Jeff (Kris), John, and Jay Helnore of Cedarburg; as well as many other family members and friends.

After nearly 30 years as an employee of We Energies (formerly Wisconsin Gas Co.), Connie retired in 2009 after holding a variety of positions, but most recently as a Web designer. She enjoyed working with computers and always liked the challenge of learning something new or playing with the latest gadget.

Connie grew up in a traditional Italian family where food and family were always at the center of every occasion. The youngest of three, Connie was clearly in charge, second only to her mother, whom she inherited much of her strength and compassion from.

From her father, Connie inherited her passion for the people and things that mattered most to her, especially her family. You always knew where she stood on a topic and with you. She was straight as an arrow. Mostly though, she was always there to pick up those she loved when they were down and help them get back on track. Her love was unconditional and her focus was always on others rather than herself.

Even as she fought her battle against cancer, she remained strong and optimistic throughout; a fighter to the bitter end.

As a wife, Jim adored Connie and the two of them were inseparable.

They just enjoyed being together. Whether it was at home watching their favorite shows or bumming around town, they did it together.

Last summer they went on a trip to Jamaica and it was the first time Connie had ever left the United States. They had an amazing adventure doing things that Connie could have never imagined she’d do.

Connie had many friends, but none as close as her best friend, Judi Hill. They were best friends since high school and knew absolutely everything about each other and their families. They were like sisters and could talk for hours every day and never run out of things to say and they never did.

Connie will be dearly missed by family and friends, but left an imprint on our hearts that will never be forgotten.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Ranveer Nand and the nurses and staff at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Ozaukee for their compassionate care. Connie spoke frequently about how special the people were at the Cancer Center and how they made having cancer just a little easier.

A funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, at 11 a.m. at Three Holy Women Catholic Parish-St. Rita’s Church, 1601 N. Cass St., Milwaukee. Visitation will be on Tuesday at the Mueller Funeral Home & Crematory in Cedarburg from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and also on Wednesday, at the church, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Columbia St. Mary’s Foundation, designated for the Cancer Center, are appreciated.

Mueller Funeral Home & Crematory is assisting the family. Online condolences may be sent by visiting