Helen Jean Wavra, age 81, of Crookston, MN, passed away Monday afternoon, December 21, 2020, in Altru Hospital at Grand Forks, ND. Helen was born on September 20, 1939 at Crookston to Jesse and Evelina (Zhorela) Casavan Sr. She grew up near Red Lake Falls, was baptized and confirmed at St. Dorothy’s Catholic Church, and attended St. Joseph’s School in Red Lake Falls, MN.
Helen was united in marriage to the love of her life, Kenneth C. Wavra, on August 24, 1957. The couple made their home in Red Lake Falls for a year before moving to Crookston. Together they raised eight children- Debbie, Mark, Tim, Vicki, Brenda, Denise, Barry, and Tammy in a very loving home. After moving to Crookston, Helen worked in the cafeteria at American Crystal Sugar before taking some time off to raise her children. In 1962 Kenny and Helen purchased farmland in Louisville Township of Red Lake County, where they grew small grains. She later did day-care from her home before becoming employed in the kitchen of the Cathedral School and then with the local Sweetheart Bakery store. Helen and Kenny retired from both their respective jobs and also their farming operation in 1997.
Helen was a long-time member of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception where she enjoyed volunteering her time for whatever needed doing. She and Kenny loved spending time with the children and their families, and nothing compared to the cakes Grandma Helen would bake for everyone’s birthday and special events. They were the best! Many precious memories were built around going camping, taking fishing trips to Lake of the Woods, and playing cards with family and friends. Helen enjoyed the special times she and Kenny would quietly share as they tended their garden, with Helen then canning the fruits of their labor for everyone to enjoy.
Sadly, Kenny passed away quite suddenly and unexpectedly on August 30, 2010, and several years earlier daughter, Brenda Joy, who had moved to Ojai, CA, died in a traffic accident on February 1, 1988. Helen, with the love and support of her family and friends, grieved the loss of her best friend and loving daughter but lived on just as Kenny would have wanted her to. She continued to host large family meals, preparing everyone’s favorite…dumplings, sauerkraut, and sidepork.
Family members include her 7 living children and their spouses: Debbie (Mark) Engebretson of Crookston, MN, Mark Wavra of Grand Forks, ND, Tim (Laurie) Wavra of Crookston, Vicki (Chuck) Henre of Crookston, Denise (Tim) Eggebraaten of Detroit Lakes, MN, Barry (Niki) Wavra of Duluth, MN, and Tammy (Dave) Wild of Fargo, ND; 24 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. Helen also leaves several siblings including: Gloria (Ray) Delorme and Jesse (Diane) Casavan Jr. of Red Lake Falls, MN, Carol (Larry) Fontaine of Lake Havasu City, AZ, Larry Casavan and Ed Casavan of Red Lake Falls, and John (Janet) Casavan of Roseau, MN; two sisters-in-law, Lois Proulx of Crookston, and Kathie Peterson of Erskine, MN; along with many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, and friends.
In addition to Kenny, her beloved husband of 53 years and their precious daughter, Brenda Joy, Helen was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse and Evelina Casavan Sr.; sister, Marlene Casavan; brothers-in-law, Paul Proulx and Jack Peterson; parents-in-law, Cyril and Bertha Wavra; and Kenny’s infant sister, Maryagnes. Helen will be sadly missed by all who shared in her life. May God richly bless her memory.
A private family Mass of Christian Burial for Helen Jean Wavra will be celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Crookston, with The Very Rev. Vincent Miller, presiding. The Mass will be live-streamed by going to www.crookstoncathedral.com on Saturday, December 26, 2020, shortly before 10:30 a.m., clicking on funeral/burials, and then the prompt for viewing Helen’s service. Interment will take place in St. Dorothy’s Cemetery, rural Red Lake Falls.
Online registry and messages of condolence may be made by visiting www.stenshoelhouske.com and going to Helen’s obituary.