VALLEY GLEN, Calif. — Helen Tomasic was born on April 18, 1922, in Detroit, and passed away peacefully at her home in Valley Glen on July 23, 2021.
She was the daughter of Josefa and Walter Pawlowski and the youngest of five children.
In 1928, her mother died unexpectedly, and the family was forced to move from their beautiful farm in Emmet, to Detroit.
In 1939, at age 16, Helen married accordionist and machinist, John Tomasic. They lived in Royal Oak for five years, and in 1945, they moved to Dodgeville in Upper Michigan’s Copper Country, where John’s parents lived and owned a candy store.
They lived with John’s parents in the house where John was born, and eventually, the family home became their home. Helen and John raised two daughters there: June and Lindsay.
Helen had a lifelong love of learning and art. She enrolled in the adult education program at Houghton High School and earned her diploma in 1974 when she was 52. Shortly thereafter, she took a job as an agent teller at Detroit & Northern Savings and Loan in Hancock, where she was beloved by her coworkers and awarded for her administrative accomplishments. She held her position until 1984.
After John’s death in 1993, Helen continued to pursue her talents in arts and crafts. She crocheted many a beautiful doily, learned to work with stained glass, and took painting classes. Helen was also a gifted baker. Her povitica, cookies, and pies inspired music and poetry; however, it was her pasties that earned her fame. Helen was the first prize winner of Pasty Fest in 2007 in the Individual Traditional Pasty category at the Main Street Calumet Michigan Pasty Fest, and we nicknamed her “Pasty Queen.”
She was a patient teacher of many bakers, graciously sharing her baking tips and secrets.
She had a natural way with living things. She was gifted with a green thumb, and her home was always filled with thriving plants and flowers. She always had a cat or a dog, invariably a rescue. Even wild animals (and people) were drawn to her naturally. Helen welcomed all people without judgment. She celebrated and brought out the good in people.
At the age of 91, Helen was convinced by her daughter Lindsay to leave the brutal winter weather in the Copper Country of Upper Michigan. She moved to Valley Glen in the fall of 2013, where she lived independently and enjoyed her southern California bungalow filled with beautiful orchids until 2021.
Helen is survived by her daughters, June Julian of Rockwood, and Lindsay Tomasic (Lane Jensen) of Valley Glen; two granddaughters, Dawn (Josh) Greene of Rock Springs, Wyoming, and Kari Tervo of Redondo Beach, California; a great-grandson, Matthew Jenkins (Desirae); two great-great-granddaughters, Ellie and Nora Jenkins; many nieces and nephews, and many surrogate family members who she embraced as part of her beloved clan.
To honor Helen’s memory, please make a donation to “Friends of The Elderly” (Upper Michigan Chapter) https://www.events.org/donation.aspx?o=517. Helen was a grateful recipient of the generosity and kindness of “Friends of the Elderly” from 2006 until she moved to Los Angeles in 2013.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, September 17, at St. Albert The Great Catholic Church (411 Macinnes Dr., Houghton, MI) at 11 a.m. Burial of her ashes will follow shortly afterward at Forest Hill Cemetery, next to her beloved husband, John. Friends and family are invited to partake in a hot pasty luncheon at Saint Albert The Great Catholic Church. Parking spaces are limited. Carpooling is encouraged.
To view Helen’s obituary or to send condolences to the family please visit www.memorialchapel.net. The Memorial Chapel & Plowe Funeral Homes of Houghton have been assisting the family with the arrangements.