Helena “Helen” J. (Fila) Lavoie, 99, of Elm Street passed away Sunday at home. She was born in a farm house in Thorndike, MA on March 10, 1921 to Frank and Apollonia Fila (Bozek). She grew up on the family dairy farm, one of eleven children, on West Road in Westfield. She was a graduate of Westfield High School and lived most of her life in West Springfield. During World War II she and her sister Julie worked as “Rosie the Riviters” to help build war planes in Connecticut. Helen was the co-owner, with her late husband Walter Rickus, of the former Elm Market and Package Store in West Springfield. Even after her retirement she continued to do the bookkeeping until she was 97. For 30 years she loved spending winters at her house in Orlando FL with her husband Francis (and her cat Jasiu) where she rekindled her love of painting. Helen was a communicant of St. Anthony of Padua in Willimansett and St. John Vianney of Orlando. She loved attending Polish family and church picnics throughout her life. She also enjoyed her daily glass of wine (her refreshments), and would say “We may as well have a good time”. She was predeceased by her first husband Walter Rickus (1946-1968) and by her second husband Francis Lavoie (1973-2003). She was the loving mother of Walter (Ricky) Rickus, Janet Rickus (Warner Friedman) of Gt. Barrington, MA and Dorothy Rickus of S. Egremont, MA, beloved step-mother of Susan Lavoie of Holyoke, Robert Lavoie of Ohio, and Margaret Lavoie of Boston, caring sister of Stella Hebda, Vera Cunningham and Chet Fila and step grandmother of Heather Burkey and Kim Achs and step great grandmother of Raymond and Alex Burkey and Haley and Kiersten Achs. A special thanks to her long time caregiver Merlin and Lori. All funeral services will be private and Toomey-O’Brien Funeral Home has been entrusted with all arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice.
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