Monday, June 22, 2020
3:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Turowski Life Story Funeral Homes
Livonia, West of Middlebelt
30200 Five Mile Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154
** NOTICE** We are adhering to the mandated policies, wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
10:00 AM EDT
St. Priscilla Catholic Church
Livonia, MI 48152
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Helen Therese Bakun would agree that she truly understood how to live life to the fullest. She was a smart, talented woman who always lit up a room, which is fitting, since the name Helen means “light.” Nothing was more fulfilling to her than caring for her family. Helen never backed down from a challenge, and her strong work ethic and kind soul will be forever remembered.
Born to Polish immigrants on June 28, 1931, Helen grew up in the family home on Devereux Street in Southwest Detroit as the youngest of eight children. Helen’s father Lucas worked hard selling life insurance, and her mother Magdalena was an excellent cook and pie baker. At St. Andrew High school, Helen sang in the choir and was an excellent student. Determined to attend college, she won a full scholarship to Madonna University based on her academic performance. After graduating with the St. Andrew class of 1949, she was ready to begin a new chapter. Along with a group of lifelong friends, Helen moved on to college, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1953.
With her college education completed, Helen was eager for all that life had in store in her career as a teacher. After two years teaching in Allen Park and Detroit, she joined Schweitzer School in the Wayne/Westland District as a fifth-grade teacher.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Helen when she met Edwin Bakun, the young man of her dreams, on a hayride. Although each was with different dates at the time, it didn’t take them long to discover that they were meant for each other. Helen and Edwin were married in a traditional Polish wedding on July 2, 1955, at St. Andrew Church. Their wedding was made especially memorable when Channel 7 filmed and televised parts of the ceremony for their series on ethnic wedding traditions.
Ready to begin their lives together, Helen and Edwin moved into a flat in Dearborn, where they welcomed their first child Donna, in 1956. After two years, the Bakun family purchased their first, and only, home in Livonia. Helen became the joyful mother to three more children: Bob in 1958, Ron in 1960, and Jim in 1963. Ahead of the times, she continued to teach as a working mother.
Determined to expand her teaching skills, Helen went back to school and earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Eastern Michigan University. While at Schweitzer, Helen formed lifelong friendships with her fellow teachers, mentored student teachers and taught fifth grade to entire families of children. In 1990 she retired after 30 years at Schweitzer School.
So many things brought great meaning to Helen’s life. What made these experiences so special was sharing them with Edwin and those whom she loved. After retiring, Helen and Edwin traveled to London, Australia and New Zealand, New Orleans and Florida and the California coast with her sister Estelle. She and Edwin enjoyed attending the opera and both were ushers at the Fox and Fisher Theaters. Helen and Edwin were excellent polka and square dancers, attending polka weekends with dear friends and dancing with Livonia’s Teacup Chainers Square Dancing Club. Helen was a creative person who used her talents to make the world around her even more beautiful. Helen’s gift for style was apparent in her home décor, beautiful clothes, sewing, making hats, basket weaving and furniture refinishing.
Of all the things Helen loved, family and dear friends were always closest to her heart. She and Edwin played bridge and were part of a dinner club that met monthly at each other’s homes. Her greatest joys were found in her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, Adeline and Eliana.
Ever thankful for her devoted husband and loving family, Helen’s legacy is timeless. She always stressed the importance of an education, of her Catholic faith, thoughtfulness and creativity. Homebound in her later years, Helen found great joy and solace in daily Masses, and praying the Rosary and Divine Office with Bishop Reed on the Catholic TV Network. Her sweet dog Kramer was a loving companion for the last 14 years. The family is especially grateful to Pam Braggs for her compassionate care of Helen during the past year.
No one can ever replace the unique individual who was Helen, the bearer of light. She will live on in the memories and hearts of those who knew her best.
Helen Therese Bakun, 88, passed away June 16, 2020. Beloved wife of the late Edwin for 61 years. Cherished mother of Donna Mirabito, Robert (Martha) Bakun, Ronald (Janie Harlow) Bakun and James (Michelle) Bakun. Dearest grandmother of Katy Mirabito, Jennifer Mirabito, Michael (Amanda) Bakun, Joseph Bakun and Ethan Bakun. Loving great-grandmother of Adeline Bakun and Eliana Bakun. Adored sister of Joyce Libby Ohlschwager and the late Estelle (Zawacki), Raymond, Chester, Mary, Frieda (Marchant) and Edmund. Also survived by many nieces and nephews. She will be dearly missed by her faithful companion Kramer. A visitation will be held Monday, 3-8:00 p.m., at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile Road (between Middlebelt Rd. and Merriman Rd.), Livonia. Funeral Mass will be held at St. Priscilla Church, 19120 Purlingbrook, Livonia, MI 48152, on Tuesday, with an instate 9:30 a.m. until the time of service at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Madonna University or CatholicTV, www.Catholictv.org.