Pleasant Valley Funeral Home

4303 Pleasant Valley Road, Vernon, BC


Helen Gatzke

January 13, 1939September 2, 2020

With love and appreciation, the family of (Irene) Helen Gatzke sadly announce her passing.

Helen is survived by her devoted husband of 62 years, Bernie Gatzke; their 4 children; Diana (Rick), Cary (Cathy), Alan (Ingrid) and Brian; 7 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild; a sister, Deanie Greenwood; numerous nieces and nephews and lifelong friends. She was predeceased by her brother, James Leonard.

Helen was born in Salmon Arm and met the love of her life in Kelowna. Together, Helen and Bernie raised a family on their orchard in Oyama. She was a hard worker, annually canning over a 1000 quarts of preserves. Her magic green thumb complimented her love of cooking whole foods, to the delight of guests and her growing family. Helen was a caring and nurturing soul, willing to take others under her wing, and quietly supported those in the community in their time of need.

Helen maintained a quick wit, possessed an obscure sense of humour and would catch many off guard with her fun-loving perspective. She loved to water ski, curl, scuba dive, and play the piano. Her signature song was, “Crackling Rosie”. Helen enjoyed her view of Kalamalka Lake, and said she never grew tired of it.

Helen was inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, as a member of the Kelowna Teddy Bears basketball team, she was an Oyama Community Club chairperson, S.D.#23 trustee, Girl Guide leader and a founding member of the Lake Country Museum. She also volunteered in the Cook Islands. Bernie and Helen’s mutual love of travel to exotic locales, lead them to “The Cooks”. They established lifelong friends there, many whom they consider to be family.

You can rest now, mom.

There will be a celebration of life held at a later date.


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


Helen Gatzke

have a memory or condolence to add?

Barbara Walthers

September 17, 2020

Sending Heartfelt Condolences to Bernie & all the Family
Helen will be sadly missed, Hugs xo
Barb & Rob Walthers

Pauline Mrs. Gus Reich , Polly

September 16, 2020

Sincere condolences to the Family, fond memories of years gone by. Sincerely , Mrs Gus Reich ,Polly

Laura Kuebel

September 14, 2020

Helen will be sadly missed by all. I had the pleasure of meeting Helen and Bernie over 20 years ago through my dear friend Diana. I feel that Helen, like Diana, has a small group of friends that she would do anything for. Above and beyond for those she loved. Having said this, there was always time and energy for acts of kindness for others in need. Such an admirable quality they share!
Helen opened her home for lodging, beachfront for lounging, and a seat on her patio for tea, baked goods, fresh fruit, preserves, and funny stories! Imagine 5 of Diana's "mom friends"-, giddy with freedom for a girl's weekend in BC. And we would descend upon the Gatske home all at once! Many times! Thank you. Helen's memory will live on through her husband Bernie, her children and grandchildren, and her many friends who love her dearly.

Deb Trewhitt

September 14, 2020

My sincere condolences to the Gatzke family with the loss of your amazing mom.
Helen was my Girl Guide leader for several years and I spent time at the Gatzke home growing up with my friend, Diana.
Helen was a force! She expected hard work and excellence from all. She had a great sense of humor and loved to live life to the fullest.
Helen was incredibly kind and helpful to my mom, Gladys when mom's health went into decline years ago. I appreciated her being there for her.
I am very sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you all.

Paula West

September 13, 2020

My heartfelt condolences to the Gatzke family. Wonderful memories as neighbours in Oyama from the 1960's. Fellow orchardists.. and Okanagan Sausage.

Paula West and family.

Cary Gatzke

September 13, 2020

Mom never hesitated to encourage her children to realize their dreams, especially when it meant overcoming self doubt or moving far away from the comfort of home. She made me a believer in the proverb, "if you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours..." We'll meet again one day Mom. With Love, "Henry"

Shirley Hill

September 10, 2020

Bern we are soo sorry for your loss . I know how you are feeling. The girls and l are thinking of you and send our condolences. Hope you can get down to Raro before too long.

Shirley Hill

September 10, 2020

I remember the last dive I had with Helen, we ended up in the surf and Bernie had to come and show us the way home. We surehad some fun back those days. Haven't had Christmas parties like you gave us Helen. Rest in peace mate and don't go picking up there.

Suzanne Mathews

September 8, 2020

Bernie & Family
I was very saddened to hear of Helen’s passing, just today. I have such wonderful fun memories of our visits to your orchard home. Remember your unwavering persistence to get me up water skiing - something like 13 tries? And how can I forget how Helen quickly hosted a wedding dinner when learning I had eloped in Kelowna. Helen was such a vibrant, sharing, fun loving soul & made us all more joyful just to be in her presence. She will be missed. My sincere condolences. Suzanne Mathews, Calgary

Julie Bateman

September 7, 2020

Eric and I met Helen and Bernie almost 40 years ago on their early visit to Rarotonga where they stayed at the old Beach Hotel with Tai and Steve Kavana. They became very close friends over the years and we have many, many fond , funny and happy and loving memories of their visits to the Cooks. We also have many wonderful memories of our stays and holidays with them and their Canadian family. Picking peaches etc for their holiday to Raro, tracing around the Rockies and more. Helen was a great cook and we certainly learned a thing or two from her while having a few laughs along the way. Helen was the Matriarch of the Gatzke clan and there is just no filling her shoes! Bernie, Eric and I are so sorry for the loss of your life time partner and soul mate. To your children, grandchildren and your great grand child, we send our heart felt sympathy. It will be wonderful for you to return to Raro one day and visit with your extended family and friends there. With very much love from Julie and Eric Bateman (Tumunu)


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