On Friday, May 1, 2020, our mother, grandmother, and auntie, Helen Rappel (nee Hucul) passed away peacefully surrounded by family at the QEII Hospital in Grande Prairie, AB at the age of 99 years.
Helen was born in Vida, AB on August 28, 1920. Helen was the second of 6 children born to Mike and Mary Hucul. Her family included sisters: Anne, Mary, and Elsie, and brothers: George and Emil.
In 1928 food was scarce and life was tough. Helen’s father, Mike, had heard of land available in the Peace Country and, in the fall of 1928, they left Manitoba heading for the Peace Country. The family made their way to Rycroft, AB where they stayed for the winter, before getting their homestead in the Ksituan area across the 2 creeks in the spring of 1929.
Life was hard in those days, breaking the land, building the farm, picking roots, and rocks was the daily life as a young child on a farm in “the bush”. The wealth of stories from her young days is amazing. Sod houses, granaries, a moose as a pet, the hungry 30’s, war, farming, family – she would talk for hours about all of it, and remembered it all until the end.
On August 6, 1938, she married Pete Rappel. The young couple lived in the Devale area and, on July 12, 1939, became the proud parents of a baby boy, Dyrald. Their second son, Mike, was born on Sept 14, 1950.
In the fall of 1957, the Rappel family moved to Grande Prairie. They bought a lot from Mr. Tissington in the Montrose area and proceeded to build their forever home.
Helen spent 28 years working for the hospitals in Grande Prairie: The Municipal Hospital, the Auxiliary Hospital, Swanhaven, and finally the QEII Hospital. She retired in 1985 after the completion and opening of the QEII.
In her retirement she gardened and enjoyed spending time travelling with her husband and enjoying time with her ever growing number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In 1991 Pete passed away and, not willing to grow old just yet, a new chapter started in her life. She met Lud Wilson in 1993 and they held a lifelong bond until his passing in February 2007.
Helen continued to stay in her home and enjoy gardening, visits from friends and neighbors. No one got away without a cup of tea and a good visit. Helen stayed in her home (a promise made and kept) until her passing.
Left to celebrate her life is her son Mike (Sylvia) of Dawson Creek; daughter in-law Leora (John) Page; grandchildren: Lynn (Brent) Czaban, Debbie (Ross) Courvoisier, Kim (Bruce) White, Shani (John) Antypovich, Dyrald Rappel Jr., Mike (Christine) Rappel, Doug (Kathleen) Rappel, and Angela (Pat) Collins. Helen also leaves behind a legacy of nieces, nephews, great-grandchildren, and great great-grandchildren that have all loved and cherished her and will miss hear dearly.
Helen was predeceased by her husband Pete in December 1991, son Dyrald in May 1996, as well as her brothers and sisters.
Helen will be laid to rest this week beside her husband at the Grande Prairie Cemetery. A celebration of her life will be held in August to celebrate her life and what would have been her 100th birthday.
Thank you to all those who have helped her in this time. The ambulance staff that came to help us, the nursing staff on 4 south, ICU and 5 North who sat with us before and after the surgery, and many others who helped her remain at home all these years. Your caring and compassion was truly cherished by Grandma.
Condolences may be sent by visiting www.oliversfuneralhome.com.