Helen Lara

March 8, 1919May 29, 2014

Helen Polin Lara March 8, 1919 - May 29, 2014

Helen Polin Lara passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 29, 2014 in Visalia, CA at the age of 95. She was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Mariano Lara and her ten siblings. Those present as she passed into her final rest in Jesus were daughters Gavina Trujillo, Margaret Castellano, Helen Carbajal and granddaughter Becky Robles. The women rubbed her arms and held her hands with love and tenderness. During her final moments, Helen spoke these words,

“I was a good mother. I am tired. Jesus loves me.”

The loved ones responded, “You have worked hard all your life, Mama. You have helped a lot of people. You were a good mother. Jesus loves you and we love you. Yes, you can rest now, Mama.” In her final moments, Helen’s thoughts were of her children and her Lord, Jesus Christ.

May you rest in peace now, Helen, our Mother, our Grandmother, our Great Grandmother, our Great Great Grandmother. You were OUR treasure and you will live in our hearts forever more.

Early Life

Helen was born on March 8, 1919 in Bakersfield, CA to Miguel and Dolores Polin. She was the youngest daughter of eleven children. She respected and loved her parents deeply and spoke of them often. She took pride in telling the story of how her parents moved the family from Sonora, Mexico to California by train in 1912.

Helen grew up in Bakersfield where she enjoyed singing along to the Spanish songs played on guitars by her older brothers. As the story goes, she was part of a group who was among the first groups, if not the first group, to ever sing in Spanish on the radio in Bakersfield.

Helen’s outgoing and friendly personality developed during those early days in Bakersfield as she enjoyed every moment of life with her large family and many young friends.

After attending Bakersfield High School, Helen began working and was known for being a hard worker. She worked in the fields picking cotton and fruit for many years.

Marriage and Motherhood

Helen moved to Fresno, CA to take a job in a café. One day she took the order of a young and handsome man who had recently returned from WWII. He ordered a grape soda and not a beer. This caught her interest. The young man returned frequently and only gave his order to Helen. This really caught her interest. His name was, Mariano Lara.

Helen married the love of her life, Mariano Lara (of Madera, CA) in 1953. They made a home together in Fresno and although several of Helen’s children were already teenagers, Mariano took on the role as father to all the children. Helen and Mariano never had an empty home. From their first days together their home was filled with the voices of children and a busy kitchen.

Their children from oldest to youngest are: Rachel Hofer, Gavina Trujillo, Edward Morales, Margaret Castellano, Helen Carbajal, and youngest son Henry Lara.

Helen spent the rest of her days as a homemaker. Full of energy and life, Helen always treated her home as her castle no matter where they lived. She decorated her home with many pictures of relatives, beautiful green plants and the collections of her favorite things like ceramic roosters and frogs, antique dishes and dolls.

All of the family loved her famous homemade flour tortillas, savory refried beans and Christmas tamales. Mariano was her partner in all her hobbies and interests and when it was the time to make tamales he was right there cleaning the husks and spreading the masa, year after year.

Gardening was a passion of Helen’s. Just about everything she planted flourished. Helen planted fruits and vegetables and was most proud of her avocado trees. She also loved flowers of all kinds and colors. Helen was proud of her garden. At the end of the day, she and Mariano would sit on the bench he built in front of their home to enjoy their garden and watch the people go by.

Helen had an adventurous spirit. If she felt like going for a drive out in the country or out of town, Mariano would stop what he was doing and take her. When on their drives together, she would have Mariano stop the car if something caught her eye like an old barn or a unique sign. Mariano would take out his camera and she would pose with the object of interest for a keepsake picture.

At family gatherings, Helen would hold everyone’s attention for hours with her charisma and sharp wit when she told her real-life stories of the funny little things that happen in daily life.

A Woman of Faith

Helen was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church since 1961. She was a woman of strong faith in God. If actions speak louder than words then Helen’s love for people that was evident when she cared for others, cooked for many, and brought laughter into a room, speaks volumes for her character and good nature that will be missed but not forgotten.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, June 5, 2014 from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm at Tinkler Funeral Chapel & Crematory. A wake service will be held starting at 5:00 pm. Commital services will be held on Friday, June 6, 2014, at 10:00am at San Joaquin National Cemetery in Gustine, CA

Arrangements under the direction of Tinkler Funeral Chapel & Crematory, Fresno, CA, 475 N Broadway Fresno, CA. 559-233-2101.


  • Visitation Thursday, June 5, 2014
  • Wake Service Thursday, June 5, 2014
  • Committal Service Friday, June 6, 2014

Helen Lara

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Delphina Masi

June 6, 2014

TO my family I'm so sorry to hear about my Tia and I'm sorry that I never came to see her but I want you to know that I loved her very much and I know that she's in better hands I have good memories of her that I will always keep in my heart and to my Tia Elena I love you Tia always have I'll always will

Robert Lara

June 4, 2014

We're all going to miss you dearly Grandma, but I know you're resting now and will be reunited with Grandpa. Thank you for always being there for me and everyone in our family. You taught us by example and we shall be forever grateful. I love you.

Delores Bernal

June 4, 2014

Grandma you will always be in my heart and all my wonderful memories of you will live in me, my children and grandchildren. Love you

Jeanette Castellano

June 3, 2014

Grandma we are going to miss you, knowing your with Grandpa makes it easier to deal with the sorrow we are feeling....

Rossi and Ryan Martinez

Jeanette Castellano

June 3, 2014

Grandma we are going to miss you, knowing your with Grandpa makes it easier to deal with the sorrow we are feeling.

Rossi and Ryan Martinez

Margaret Castellano

June 2, 2014

I will miss you so much mom but i know that your in a best place now. I just hope that they have Dr. Pepper and frogs cause i know those where your two favorite things.

Dayna Jimenez

June 1, 2014

I'm so sorry , Love Dayna

Dollie Ragsdale

June 1, 2014

We are so sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Love, Jim and Dollie Ragsdale

Natalia Castellano

June 1, 2014

Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss…our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. Love Blas and Matilda Castellano and the Aguilar family

Diane Reyes

June 1, 2014

My beautiful Grandmother was a blessing in my life. Her spirit and inspiration will live with me forever. I love you, Grandma Lara.
Diane (Sissy) Johnnie Carbajal Reyes