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Memories & Candles

“Aunt Helen was my loving godmother. I have very fond memories of being with her and her wonderful family. ”
1 of 3 | Posted by: Patricia Simon - Upper Darby, PA

“Aunt Helen you were truly an amazing woman, I always said you were my idol. You will be truly missed! RIP ”
2 of 3 | Posted by: Donna Rizzo - Selden, NY - Family

“Helen was a very dear lady whom we had the privilege to meet when our daughter married her grandson, Rich Otto. I remember dancing with her two...Read More »
3 of 3 | Posted by: Anne McBride - Bluffton

Helen M. Varecha (nee Mosovsky) of Phoenicia passed away on Wednesday, January 25th at Kingston Hospital lovingly surrounded by her son Robert Varecha and his wife Priscilla, and several close family members. Helen was born on June 7, 1919 in her beloved New York City.

Helen and her husband John (a NYC Fire Captain, now deceased) loved swimming, boating, travel, and after retirement they became top-level square dancers. Helen was active and spry right up until her last weeks and loved to dance, garden and bake traditional Czech breads for her family.

Helen moved up from Long Island to Phoenicia in 2015 to be closer to her only surviving child Robert and daughter-in-law Priscilla, and here she was embraced by the warmth and kindness of the community in a way that deeply enriched the last years of her life.

Robert and Priscilla want to especially thank:
Father Raphael and the members of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church for enfolding Helen into their loving community from the moment she arrived; her caring community of friends at Shandaken Village Apartments where she resided; the Arts Upstairs Gallery where Helen (a lifelong artist) had her "first ever" art exhibits at age 96 of her paintings and sculptures – a dream experience that she never imagined she would have; Shandaken Senior Citizens for their welcoming friendship and watching out for her on trips; and the Phoenicia Rotary who held the Senior Prom at the Parish Hall where Helen was Prom Queen which filled her with happy amazement for several weeks.

It is hard to fully express the gifts of a small town community, but Helen and our family were embraced by them fully, and we are filled with gratitude for the help we had making Mom's last years' of life so full and rich.

She was predeceased by her husband John, her daughter Arlene Otto, her son John (who was a NYC officer fallen in the line of duty), and 6 brothers and sisters. In addition to her son Robert and daughter-in-law Priscilla of Mt. Tremper, she is survived by six grandchildren (Sharon Varecha, Amy Varecha, Robert Otto and wife Adriana, John Otto, Richard Otto and wife Courtney, and Suzanne Otto, plus four great grandchildren: Emily, Olivia, Brandon and Kaitlyn, and several nieces, nephews and extended family.

Friends will be received on Saturday, Feb. 4th between 11am -12:45pm at the E. B. Gormley Funeral Home 87 Main St. Phoenicia. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Fr. Raphael Iannone at 1pm at the St. Francis de Sales Church, 109 Main St. The family suggests that memorial contributions may be made to the skilled Shandaken Rescue Squad POBox 134 Shandaken,NY 12480, who responded to our calls several times over the past year. Arrangements are under the guidance of the E. B. Gormley Funeral Home, Phoenicia.

Funeral Home
E. B. Gormley Funeral Home
87 Main Street Phoenicia, NY 12464
Tel. (845) 688-5500
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