Margaret Helen Gerard, age 73, of Stratford, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at Stratford General Hospital after a brief illness. Family and friends will forever mourn the absence of Helen’s close companionship, her integrity and strength of character, her selfless help and support under any circumstances, and her expressions of unconditional love. Helen was born in Beaver Lodge Alberta on June 27, 1947, daughter to Alexander and Marguerite (Goldsmith) Paul. A true product of her roots, Helen’s character joined Prairie grit to Scottish stoicism & work ethic along with strength and perseverance from a long line of Goldsmiths – United Empire Loyalists dating as far back as the Mayflower. Those who knew Helen’s parents, may have recognized the clever and shrewd spark she inherited from Marg’s eyes as well as Scotty’s level headed and no-nonsense 1000 yard stare. For those who called her their Wife, Mother, Nana, or Friend, Helen had a special twinkle in her eye reflecting the love which she took joy in expressing. A beautiful young bride on April 4, 1964, Helen married Cameron Gregory Gerard in St. Marys Ontario. With 3 children 3 years old or younger by her 20th birthday, Helen provided loyal companionship to Greg for 57 years and remained a devoted & loving mother to Danielle (Steve) MacDonnell, Greg (Donna) Gerard, and Shawn (Patricia) Gerard throughout their lives. Helen experienced a profound loss in November, 2020 when she lost her son Greg to a courageous 5 year battle with cancer. Known simply as Nana to her grandchildren spread through Canada and England, she remains loved and cherished by Siobhan & Braeden MacDonnell; Brett, Cameron, and Eloise Gerard; as well as Ellie & Sabrina Mariani and Sasha Gerard. Always generous with her time and affection, Helen could be found through the years building play structures in Greg’s back yard in England, holding grandchildren’s hands while joining vacations from New York City and Mont Tremblant to Holland … Helen spent far more time accompanying grandchildren to theme parks than one could reasonably expect from even the most doting of grandmothers! Within the boundaries of Ontario, Helen’s car knew the routes to her grandchildren’s houses so well, it could almost drive itself. She seldom missed a special occasion, an event, or a performance of any kind and she usually arrived with a thoughtful gift or an ample supply of cookies which her grandchildren (and children) loved. Even as a young mother of three, Helen worked hard to contribute – ensuring her family lived comfortably and wanted for nothing. Somehow – while working and raising 3 children – she found time to return to night school, train to be a Health Care Aid, and develop a career helping elderly patients in assisted living. Later on, Helen shifted gears and transitioned to become a supervisor within automotive manufacturing. She was well respected by both the team she supervised and the management team she supported … Helen was one of the first employees hired when the factory opened and remained the last employee retained years later as the plant closed and she entered retirement. Helen was a strong, independent, and vibrant woman who was appreciated and well respected far beyond the immediate circle of her close friends and family. Helen blended hard work and personal development with kindness, character, and generosity – she remains a role model to her children and grandchildren, as well as those whose lives she touched. Helen was pre-deceased by her son Greg (Donna) Gerard and siblings Donald Paul, Linda Musgrave, and Bill Paul. She is survived by her husband Cameron Gregory Gerard and children Danielle (Steve) MacDonnell and Shawn (Patricia) Gerard and daughter-in-law Donna (Greg) Gerard; siblings Shirley Lennon, Patricia Dietrich, Bill (Heather) Alles; sisters-in-law Patricia (Bill) Paul, Marilyn (Richard) Gerard and Carmel (Jack) Palmer; brother-in-law Michael Musgrave; cousin Heather (Mike) Fitzsimmons; and many nieces and nephews whom she adored. We will forever feel the bitter-sweet sense of irreplaceable loss along-side the inspiration, joy, and love Helen brought to all our lives. In keeping with Helen’s wishes, cremation will take place with a private family interment in Avondale Cemetery (Stratford). As expressions of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre https://supportthepmcf.ca/ui/Ride21/p/47ec24673909402dbfa20f9a921136f3 through the W. G. Young Funeral Home, 430 Huron Street, Stratford. 519.271.7411. www.wgyoungfuneralhome.com
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