Helen Dianne “Helie” Varelia, 83, of Anaconda entered into eternal life on January 12, 2023. She was born October 25, 1939, in Anaconda to Joseph and Dorothy (Huestis) Varelia. She attended St. Paul’s Grade School and graduated from Anaconda Central High School in 1957.
Helen never married and was very independent. Her independence and strength were greatly admired by her friends and family. She was employed by the State Auditor in Helena from 1959 to 1963; Drs. Harper, Strizich & McMahon from 1963 to 1966; Veterans Administration Center at Fort Harrison from 1966 to 1976; MSU College of Nursing from 1976 to 1983 on the Butte and Great Falls Campuses; and Benefis Healthcare in Great Falls from 1986 until her retirement in 2003.
Helen loved the color pink, butterflies, and the ocean. Her home speaks of the joy she found in these symbols. She relished working in the yard and puttering around on various projects. For many years her beloved pup, Nikki, was a constant presence at her side.
She also delighted in travel and spending time with friends. In retirement, she went on many adventures with her dear cousin Joan (Duffy) Poston. They enjoyed road trips out of state, trips to Hawaii and other places, and quick local getaways. They had been very close growing up in the same town and found great delight in spending their later years in adventures together once again.
One cannot remember Helie without also remembering the depth of her faith in God and her love of His Church. In her final hours, her heart was joyful and at peace with the knowledge she would soon be with her Lord and reunited with her family, especially her dear cousin Joan who preceded her in death by just over a month. Helen said they still had many adventures ahead in Heaven.
Her special friends since High School days, Sister Mary Agnes Hogan and Carol Mulholland were an important part of Helen’s life with whom she shared many precious memories.
Helen is survived by a sister-in-law, Carole, and niece Karole Bender of Oregon; and nephew Jon of Utah. She is also survived by numerous cousins including Joseph “Jim” Duffy of Westerville, OH, and Helen Duffy of Carnation, WA; and former sister-in-law Maddy Vanisko of West Richland, WA.
Memorial donations may be made to Anaconda Community Hospital and Nursing Home Foundation either online or by contacting Amber Benes at 406-563-8647.
At her request there will be no wake or visitation. Cremation has taken place and a joint Funeral Mass for Helen and her cousin Joan is planned for June 10, 2023 at 10:30am at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 401 Alder St., Anaconda, MT. A funeral luncheon will follow the mass at Hunthausen Center of Holy Family Catholic Church, 217 W. Pennsylvania St., Anaconda, MT. Inurnment of ashes will be in Mount Olivet Cemetery alongside the love of her life, her brother Joe.
Please visit the side bar to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Helen.
Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Helen and her family.