Helen A. Ciesla

January 29, 1921February 3, 2019

Helen Alfreda Ciesla passed away on February 3, 2019 – 5 days after her 98th birthday. Helen was born on January 29, 1921 in East Chicago, Indiana to the late Albert and Theresa Kawczynski. She grew up in a close knit Polish community shared with many relatives, neighbors and friends in the nineteen twenties and thirties. It was in the community that she met and married her beloved husband, Leo and shared 65 years together before his passing in 2007.

Helen graduated from high school having learned the art of Cosmetology and soon after opened her own Hair Salon. She continued styling hair in her home part time while raising four children and managing a busy household. In 1965, the family moved to Raleigh and Helen began working at Ronsons in North Hills Mall until her retirement 20 years later. Along with her work and family life, Helen loved to sew, knit, quilt and craft beautiful things.

Helen was an active member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Raleigh for over 50 years. She was a very devout Catholic and centered her life around her faith in Jesus Christ. She served on many committees at church over the years. Helen also enjoyed sharing her Polish heritage with people and was a founding member of the Polish American Club in Raleigh.

Helen is survived by three sons: Jerry (Carol), of Tallahassee, Florida, Phil, of Raleigh and David, of Wilmington; one daughter: Laurie Dvorak (Bill), of Raleigh; six granddaughters; eight great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Family will receive friends on Wednesday evening from 6-8 pm at Mitchell Funeral Home (7209 Glenwood Avenue). A Funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on Thursday, February 7th at 11 am, with a light luncheon to follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church at 2718 Overbrook Drive - Raleigh, NC 27608) or Transitions LifeCare of Raleigh (formerly Hospice of Wake County) at 200 Hospice Circle - Raleigh, NC 27607.

The family would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff at Rex Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center for their kind and compassionate care in her finals days.


  • Visitation Wednesday, February 6, 2019
  • Funeral Mass, with Light Luncheon to Follow Thursday, February 7, 2019

Helen A. Ciesla

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Renee Harper

February 7, 2019

My mother and I only had a few days to get to know Helen and her family. Words do not allow us to express our gratitude for their kindness and friendship. I only wish that we had met earlier. We hope that we can show the same love and grace to others that you showed to us.

May God, love, and family help you all find peace in Helen’s life well-lived.

Sandra Stuckey

February 6, 2019

Helen was the first person I met at my first Polish Club meeting followed by Leo. We spent many hours together working for the Club and getting to know one another. She was always friendly and willing to help with whatever needed to be done. Her interest in the Club and members remained after attending events was difficult. PAC would not be today, without her and Leo’s support through 30 plus years. Their gentle nature complimented one another. It has been wonderful to know both. I will miss our phone calls and visits.

Pat Lesser

February 5, 2019

My aunt Helen was always an inspiration for me. As a little girl, I sat in her salon watching her create beautiful hair styles. She taught me how to sew. When I was in high school, she made my majorette uniform. She always kept a beautiful home and made most of her own decor. She hosted my family when we were in North Carolina and most recently, we would Skype or talk on the phone. She took care of my grandmother all of her years. She inspired me to do the same. She was an example of love and grace. I can only hope to live up to all I saw in her.