Helen Paddle

November 9, 1932February 7, 2021

Helen Jane Paddle (née Hall)

Farmgirl–Scooter Girl–Traveller-Titan-Matriarch

November 9, 1932 – February 7, 2021

Our mum left us on Sunday evening. She was at home and surrounded by family, exactly as she had hoped.

Helen was born in Galt, Ontario. She and her sisters Wilma (“Toot”) and Bethie, and brothers Tom and John, were raised on the Hall family homestead in Ayr/Jedburgh, Ontario during the Great Depression. Although there were hardships - they had no electricity or indoor plumbing, and farming involved hard manual labour - Helen always remembered her childhood with great fondness. Music filled the home and huge family meals – Hall Christmases that continue to this day - were a source of happiness for her.

After graduating from highschool, Helen worked as a secretary (“90 wpm AND shorthand!!!”) at the Smiles and Chuckles factory in Kitchener where she developed a lifelong love of “Turtles”. Toot had moved to Toronto and it wasn’t long before Helen headed down the road to join her at a residence for out-of-town girls, Willard Hall. Helen met Mae Drew (Waxer) and Betty Koch (Russell) there and the trio shared many small-town-girl-in-the-big-city adventures. Helen secured a secretarial job at the CBC where she met Molly Davis (Endress). Molly, Betty, Mae and Helen would remain friends, meeting over Bridge games and then just coffee or wine when no one could remember what trump was, for the next seven decades.

At a Young People’s dance at Metropolitan United Church, Helen caught the eye of the DJ. It was love at first sight for young Jack Paddle. He and Helen married in May of 1955 at the end of Jack’s fourth year of architecture at UofT. Helen acted as breadwinner while Jack completed his fifth year and graduated. Then, much to their family’s consternation, they put everything they owned into storage and went to Europe, planning to take a year to visit all of the castles and cathedrals that Jack had studied in school. They started the trip on bicycles but, halfway up one of those interminable hills in Cumbria, Helen sat down on the side of the road and refused to go any further. There was no point in arguing with Helen – EVER - so they traded in their bikes for a motor scooter in Penrith and continued on their merry way.

When they arrived home in 1957, penniless, Jack and Helen were met at Union Station by Mum’s cousin, Bob Lowndes, and his young wife Joan. Helen’s Aunt Amy gave them $100 to get them started and they moved to an apartment in Thorncliffe Park. Jack found a job and six months later -! - Patti was born. Carol followed thirteen months after that and John was born in 1961. By this time the Paddle family had bought a house in Midland Park. Neighbours like Doris Maiden, Norma King, Grace Lewis and Doreen Kincaid were lifelines and these women as well as “The Bridge Ladies” became second mothers for the Paddle kids.

By the late seventies, her children grown, Helen was anxious to get back into the workforce. Despite the fact that she knew nothing about cars, she became the first female car salesperson in Toronto. By noon of her first day, she sold her first car, a fully loaded Cadillac, and went on to win many sales awards. Helen was regularly the only woman in a room of three thousand men at District Sales Meetings. After she retired from selling cars, she worked onsite during the construction of the CN Tower. On the afternoon they were going to install the needle, she poked her head out of the very tip of the tower and took her time looking down at the city of Toronto, hair blowing in the wind. She was a titan.

Helen and Jack’s trips to Kenya and winters in Mexico were highlights of their lives, and they instilled their love of travel into their seven grandchildren. These six grandsons and one granddaughter loved visits to the cottage on the St. Lawrence where their Grandma Jane taught them how to play cribbage and when to pour her a glass of wine. (Five o’clock. Lots of ice.) To her grandchildren, Grandma Jane was a study in contrasts: “stylish and elegant, yet pragmatic to her very core.” With them, she shared a special relationship, “happy to sit, listen, and take in what was happening, but then you’d see someone doing something funny and catch her eye from across the room, and you’d know she’d seen it too.”

And there you have it: FAMILY was everything for Helen and we, her family, won’t forget her words: “Remember you’re a Hall.”

With love from your kids, Patti (John), Carol (Mark), John, and Terry (Marvin); your grandchildren, Will (Anna), Rob, Ned (Robbie), Laura Jane (Josh), Jeff (Rebecca), Jake (Melissa), and Trystan; and your great-grandchildren, Emmett and Harper Helen.

Interment at Ayr Cemetery will happen only when we can hug one another safely.

Patti, Carol and John are enormously grateful to the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care. Donations, if you wish, can be made online or mailed to them at 522 University Avenue, Ste. 1001, Toronto, M5G 1W7. (416-586-8203.)

By-o, by-o, Mum. Cheers. (Do you want more ice in that white wine?)


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Helen Paddle

have a memory or condolence to add?

Rieny Alberding

February 25, 2021

Omg I’m sad to hear of Helen’s passing , I met Helen and jack in melaque Mexico , what a beautiful couple they were ,, Helen was so wise , I had many a long conversation with her ,, on one of my successful fishing trip I arranged to have the fish prepared at one of our favorite restaurants in Bara ,, as many as my little truck could carry guests from our hotel jumped on the back of the little pickup for the trip to the restaurant,, low and behold “ Helen and jack were one of the first to climb up ( with a little help ) we had so many laughs over that trip ,!! Helen was such a good sport !! We lost a great person,,, but heaven gained another angel “”rest in peace Helen!!!
Rieny Alberding

Nancy Stow

February 24, 2021

Helen and I first crossed paths in the 1980s when we both worked at the (poorly-named) Ontario Manpower Commission. Always a wise-woman, Helen gave terrific advice to those of us who were balancing career and young families. Her words stuck and, when we met again at 400 Walmer Rd, I was able to recall the lessons of her shared stories -- which earned a nod. Over coffee (before Covid-times) we revisited workplace memories and shared others of life in Ontario's rural counties. My condolences to the family. Once met, Helen left a lasting imprint. Deepest sympathies, Nancy

Patti Loach

February 18, 2021

Is this the truck that Claire Edeburn refers to in her memory? I'm not sure. But, as my mum said, she had spent a fair amount of time in the back of pickup trucks in her time.

Claire Edeburn

February 17, 2021

We first met Helen and Jack in Melaque, I'm thinking that was a favourite warm place for them, and our de Tarso family met up every January. Many hours were spent visiting. I recall Rieny and Lorne caught a bunch of Dorado, and they had Ramon's cook them up for our crowd. We all had to find our way to Barra, but a few of us went with Rieny in his pickup. I remember riding in the back box, and Helen and Jack jumped right in there too. At they're age, they needed a little boost, but like Helen said, "she had ridden in the back of a pickup many times in her life". The rules are different in Mexico. It was so fun. She was such a great lady, and all of us at the de Tarso loved her and Jack. She will be missed.

Kathy Horne

February 15, 2021

I enjoyed meeting Helen in Melaque and seeing her in Toronto. Such a nice lady. Here she is with Saul at Pablo de Tarso.

Donna Jean MacKinnon

February 15, 2021

I will always see dear Helen, in the posada, in Melaque. Relaxing in her chair, and the tickling of the ice cubes, in her white wine, as she swirled her glass. Sure hope St. Peter has his fridge well stocked.
"In vino veritas," Donna Jean

Patti Loach

February 13, 2021

The Hall family, on the Hall farm.

Mildred, with her "fab five": Tom ("Tink"), Wilma ("Toot"), Beth ("My Bethie"), Helen ("Puss"), and John ("Rosie").

Susan Henley

February 13, 2021

Helen was our biggest cheer leader when Patti and I would play and sing ANYTHING!!! She just loved to listen to us, and it's wonderful to perform for such a fan.
I am grateful for her musical support, and love of what we do.

Gentle hugs to Patti, John, and all of Helen's family.

Monica Harding

February 12, 2021

I was very sad to hear that Helen had died. May she Rest in Peace. She was a lovely lady and I got to know her, and Jack, through the Tenants Association. Jack was a vital part of the Association for many years and Helen was great supporter too.
They were very kind and generous people and are missed.
My condolences to all the Family.

Patti Loach

February 12, 2021

White wine. With a glass of ice, please. Cheers!