Jeannick Helm

6 juillet , 19343 septembre , 2019

Jeannick Helm of West Vancouver passed away at the West Vancouver Care Centre on the morning of September 3, 2019. She is survived by her children Richard (Jane), Peter, Susan and Robert (Holly), sisters Clem (Joe) and Renée (Olivier), brother François (Pierrette) and grandchildren Matthew, Natalie, Soph and Nathan. She was predeceased by her sister Béatrice in 2012 and husband John in 2006.

Jeannick (formerly Jeanne-Marie) was born on July 6, 1934 in Lausanne, Switzerland to father Felix Iselin and mother Sophie Gueydan. She spent her early years at “Le Bévieux,” a 500-year old farmhouse near Lake Geneva, where Jeannick attended school and raised chickens and geese for pocket money. At age 16, the family moved to Montevideo, Uruguay where Jeannick and her siblings embraced the Latin culture of South America. Jeannick would eventually earn a teaching diploma in French.

In 1956, Jeannick moved to Oxford to study English, where she met her husband-to-be, John Helm. John soon completed his geology degree and, with few opportunities for geologists in England, accepted a job in Elliott Lake, Ontario. After many trans-Atlantic letters and cables, Jeannick moved to join him and they married in 1958.

In 1960, John and Jeannick (with new baby in tow) loaded their ’58 Chevrolet Bel Air and trailer and drove west, eventually settling in Ambleside, West Vancouver. They would welcome three more children there and continue to reside in the family home for the next 55 years.

Once settled, Jeannick began to apply her teaching skills. She had a great passion for languages and was fluent in French, Spanish and English and also spoke Italian. Using her entrepreneurial talents, she created and managed one of the first afterschool French programs for elementary school students in West Vancouver in the 1970s. Later, she would run a bed and breakfast from her home and welcome guests from around the world.

Both John and Jeannick loved to travel, and they explored many parts of the world. Jeannick also provided tremendous support to John during his 45 years at Columbia College, helping to represent the school to prospective international students and their families across Asia and South America.

Throughout her life, Jeannick found great joy in being involved and social. She was very active in her church, spending many afternoons visiting the sick in hospital and distributing sandwiches to the homeless. She enjoyed attending her book club and playing rounds of bridge with her friends. She was also an active member of the West Vancouver Seniors’ Activity Centre, where she took painting classes, sang in the Keynotes Choir and attended special outings, such as the VSO’s Tea & Trumpets.

Jeannick also delighted in taking care of her home, tending her garden and hosting backyard dinner parties with friends and family. She was happiest when surrounded by her children and grandchildren, who benefited so much from her love and affection.

We would like to thank Jeannick’s longtime friend Imelda for her friendship and support, her wonderful caregiver Cara, and all the caregivers who looked after Jeannick while she was at home. We are also grateful to the staff at the West Vancouver Care Centre who took such good care of Jeannick in the last two years of her life. Thanks also to Dr. Conly, who provided Jeannick with decades of excellent care.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer’s Society of British Columbia would be appreciated.

A funeral Mass will be held at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church, 599 Keith Road, West Vancouver, B.C. V7T 1L8 on Thursday October 3rd at 2pm. Reception to follow at the church.


  • Funeral Mass jeudi, 3 octobre , 2019


Jeannick Helm