FRANKLIN - After having been a shut-in these past two years due to medical issues, Helen Waneski left this earthly life for a far better one on Aug. 29, 2017.
She was the widow of Theodore W. Waneski, who died Jan. 4, 2012. Helen was the only daughter of Anastasia (Bessie) and Anthony Kozakewich (Russian-Ukranian & Polish immigrants) of Brooklyn, New York (Bay Ridge area). She was born Nov. 16, 1921.
After completing business school, and having an artistic bent early on, she designed bedspreads. Later, she began an extensive career in the banking services industry. After a long friendship and courtship of several years, she and Ted Waneski were married in 1968, on her birthday. They later moved to New Jersey, commuting daily to New York City. There she worked at the Federal Reserve as an executive secretary while Teddy had a long association with CitiGroup after serving in the U.S. armed services.
They were always mindful and proud (with utter humility) to be loyal and fiercely devoted Americans. They were staunch supporters of many Republican presidents as well as other related organizations that understood what hard work and extreme sacrifice meant for the good and protection of all Americans. Throughout their life together, they (quietly) were most generous to important causes and organizations.
Enjoying family, neighbors and friends, and often hosting their rather famous “Deli Nights” and backyard barbecues, was a vital part of their daily living patterns. They loved to travel and play golf. Helen and Ted took sheer delight watching and attending PGA Tournaments—especially with Jack Nicklaus, that classy Golden Bear, Arnie Palmer, and in later years, their beloved Phil Mickelson. The same could be said about Professional Tennis. Helen loved to see her Slavic athletes take the crowns of achievement (Grand Slams and open championships); particularly Maria Sharapova and Anna Kournikova. She also loved watching the Williams sisters and Chris Evert. She would watch many hours of matches, recording most of them for continued years of viewing and enjoyment. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras and Andy Murray got her excited.
In 1983 the Waneskis made the decision to retire and move to Franklin to be near to Helen’s brother, John Paul (Kozakewich) Keswick, and his wife Dorothy Irene (Hull) Keswick. They designed and built a lovely rustic ranch house in Mill Creek Country Club. Once again, they made new friends and enjoyed countless golf outings, while continuing their “Deli Nights” and their abundant hospitality. Helen adored her only brother. When he became seriously afflicted with a debilitating medical disorder, she was devoted to helping with his care until he expired.
Everywhere Helen lived, she seemed to enjoy the real nuggets of daily living. She was a longtime member of The Federated Franklin Women’s Club, having served on the calling committee. She genuinely cared about people, and while calling the membership each and every month for luncheon reservations and various other matters, she listened to them and tried to bolster their spirits whenever possible. She enjoyed playing mahjong with her local chums. And, she was a lifelong bowler, particularly enjoying the tournaments and related travel escapades.
This Lady had a real panache about herself and was always dressed to the nines besides being well coiffed. She loved bright, true reds, ie., lipsticks, painted nails and cars!
Helen thoroughly enjoyed her Turner Classic movies library. She was an avid devotee and serious supporter of The Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald Society, traveling to planned gatherings and reminiscing with other fans. The collected tomes about this famous couple were always close by.
Beyond her parents, Helen was preceded in death by Teddy in January 2012; and her brother, John, and sister-in-law Irene. This past year, two close cousins passed: Helen Balaban (Croton-On-Hudson, New York) and Joseph (JoJo) Sammaciccia. Those surviving include her remaining second cousins, Mary Ann (Kosbi) Kovalich, an especially dear goddaughter (Hudson, New York), Marylin Sammaciccia (Ghent, New York), Lois Dysard (Ghent), John Rybka (Kinderhook, New York) and Michael Rybka (Stuyvesant, New York).
In addition, her brother’s children are: Lauren Keswick (Durham); Steven Keswick, also a godson, and wife Sara (Dallas); and Jeannie (Benson) White and husband Larry (Corpus Christi).
Great nieces and nephews are: Gena (Robert) Kelly and children, Colin, Kaitlin and Madeline (Mansfield, Texas); Aaron (Erika) Keswick (Mansfield) and children, Aubrie, Lena and Andrew; Cannon (Nicole) Benson (Corpus Christi) and son, Ronin; and, Charity Benson (Corpus Christi) and children, Charlotte and Curtis.
Throughout the years, Helen and Teddy had three different golden retrievers, all named “Sunshine,” who gave them sheer delight and solace each and every day. In later years of being less active, listening to opera recordings brought her great joy when reading was no longer possible.
Also left to cherish her memory are Jean (Doug) Margo (Palm Coast, Florida), Teddy’s only remaining cousin; their only daughter, Dr. Melissa (Robert) Capuano, and their children Logan and Addison (Charlotte). They often enjoyed many wonderful activities together including nice travel trips.
Helen spoke almost daily up until a few months ago about how humbled she was, and how full of heart felt gratitude she was for her Companion Health Care staff and kind, loving CNAs; likewise, for the entire Four Seasons doctors/critical care nurses who patiently tended to her changing needs. And, finally, a dear neighbor and trusted friend, Felicia Cook-Lever (Franklin); Toni and Nile Hartman (Franklin), and their son, Brent Andrew Hartman (Lisa); and Jacob Deen and Sienna Michelle of Milton, Georgia, who shall fondly remember ‘the Ms. Helen who rocks!”
Visitation will be held from 2-4 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 11, at Macon Funeral Home, with rosary at 4 p.m.
Funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 299 Maple St., Franklin. Father Francis X. Arockiasamy will officiate.
A graveside service will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at St. John’s Catholic Cemetery in Middle Village, New York (Queens).
In lieu of floral offerings, Helen requested that Four Seasons Hospice (Flat Rock and Hendersonville) be considered. There is a critical need for another local hospice in the WNC mountains, and one is scheduled to be constructed in fall 2018 just as soon as the final funds can be raised. Specifying that all said funds be directed solely to the Franklin project would be earnestly appreciated.
Macon Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences can be made at maconfuneralhome.com.