Helen Mary Pritchett passed away peacefully on May 11, 2018, in Huntington Beach, CA. Her life was one of adventure, kindness, grace, and fire, and her mark on the world will live on through her beloved family and through the stories she shared with them of her younger days.
She was born in Niagara Falls, NY in 1919, the second-youngest of nine children of Jozef and Marianna Kolarz, who had emigrated from Poland. At the age of 16, Helen and two friends boldly left Niagara Falls and drove to Los Angeles. It was there that she met and married her husband, Frank Pritchett. She went on to finish her high school education and took classes at El Camino College. She worked for over 20 years in the attendance/counseling office at a high school in the Torrance, CA school district.
Helen loved to travel. She went to Poland, China (where she walked the Great Wall), England, and Alaska, to name just a few of the places she explored.
Helen never ceased to amaze her family and friends. She was stubborn, proud and independent, and cherished those same qualities in her children and grandchildren. She loved crossword puzzles, old black and white films, mystery and romance novels, and going out to eat. She had a recipe for mostaccioli and a simple tossed green salad that her family simply drooled over; she would shoo out of the kitchen anyone who tried to get close enough to see what the ingredients were. If you were successful in sneaking a taste of her sauce, her radar would go off, and you’d be - lovingly but firmly - chased out of the kitchen. She had a sweet tooth, an open mind, and a way with words in any situation.
Helen was also a woman of deep faith. She and her late mother both had a particular affinity for the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, a connection Helen felt enabled her to remain close to her mother in spirit.
Helen and Frank is survived by 3 children: James, Patricia, and Daniel; nine grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
A loved one recently summed up Helen and her outlook on life by saying this: “Whenever she heard music, she danced.” It is that spirit that will live on in the people whose lives Helen touched, and in all of the days made brighter by her memory.