Helen Jean McEwen of Edmonton, Alberta was born August 26, 1929 and passed away peacefully June 3, 2021 at the age of 91.
Jean lost her loving husband, Ben, two short months ago. She is survived by a family that made her immensely proud including four children – Don (Debbie) McEwen, Murray (Julie) McEwen, Anne (Kerry) Checkwitch and Lynn Bellissimo; nine grandchildren – Keith (Jen) McEwen, Leigh (Dana) Macumber, Mike (Santyna) McEwen, Sean and Jack McEwen, Christopher and Adam Checkwitch, Samara and Tessa Bellissimo; five great-grandchildren – Zach and Callie McEwen, Emma and Reid Macumber and Charlie McEwen; and sister Georgina Garland. Jean was predeceased by her parents, Earl and Ethel MacRae and brother Dick (Doreen) MacRae.
Jean grew up in the Ottawa Valley. Her father was a successful dairy farmer and her mother, a piano teacher. Following high school, she attended Teacher’s College where she met her future husband in 1949. Initial attraction turned into love and they rushed to the altar seven years later in 1956. Jean and Ben got busy and had four children in five years. She set her teaching career aside to raise the kids and became an outstanding mother, selfless and devoted. Once the children were grown, Jean sought part-time retail employment because she had energy to burn. Eventually she focused on volunteer work which was her true calling. Jean could be found twice a week for almost 20 years at Grey Nuns Hospital. Never seeking the spotlight, she humbly accepted several awards over time. Jean was also honoured by being appointed to the hospital board of directors. She resigned after a few meetings, realizing her passion was active service rather than the dull boardroom.
Jean and Ben enjoyed years of travelling the world and later, annual extended vacations in Palm Springs. She assembled numerous photo albums of their many adventures. Like her husband, physical fitness was important to Jean. Small but mighty, she was always on the go and keeping pace with her was a fun challenge.
Mom and Dad were together 72 years. She missed him terribly and we believe she left our loving arms for his.
Due to current provincial restrictions, attendance at the June 12 funeral service to be held at St. Paul’s United Church will be limited to family and live-streamed via Zoom.
Serenity Funeral Service (South)