Obituary of Helen Jacinta MacDonald
Helen Jacinta (MacLean) MacDonald
With deep sadness, we regret to announce the death of Helen Jacinta MacDonald, 73, which occurred Thursday, July 20, 2023 at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax. Raised in a loving and musical family in Iona, Cape Breton, Helen was the youngest of five children born to Flora Mae (Gillis) and Peter F. MacLean. Inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of her father, who established the family service station, Helen pursued a degree in Business Administration at St. Francis Xavier University, graduating at a time when few women enrolled in the program. During this time, she also met her future husband. For more than fifty years, Helen and Jimmy were a team that uplifted each other and those around them.
Like her mother and sisters, Helen chose a career in education, earning a B.Ed. from St. Mary’s University in 1973. A dedicated and compassionate teacher, she taught in schools in Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary before moving back to Nova Scotia. Helen was a longtime fixture at Dartmouth High School, where she formed life-long friendships and gave students hands-on experience in business by having them open and operate a school store called the Snack Shack. She took her teaching responsibilities seriously, always looking for ways to improve, and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from Mount St. Vincent University in 2003. After her retirement, Helen accepted a number of contract positions with Nunavut Arctic College, sharing her passion for education with a new generation of teachers in the north. She enjoyed this experience immensely and treasured the people and places she got to know in the eastern Arctic.
Forward-thinking and determined, Helen had a flair for fashion and design, loved music, and was an avid reader. Organized and efficient, she also had a spontaneous and adventurous side, particularly when it came to road trips. Though she enjoyed visiting new places, family invariably came first. Whether on the phone or in-person, she always had time to talk. A loving mother, supportive sister, and engaged aunt and grandparent, her death leaves a void in the lives of friends and family from Iona to Halifax to Japan.
Helen is survived by her sons Shamus (Jeslyn) and Scott (Ai) and grandchildren Neil, Lachlan, and Malcolm. She is also survived by her sisters Anne (Larry) and Theresa, nieces Lara, Natasha, Leah and Lucy, and nephew Peter. She was predeceased by her beloved husband Jimmy, brother Alexander, and sister Florence (Joe).
A wake will be held on Friday, July 28 at 1 p.m. at St. Columba Church, Iona, immediately followed by a Funeral Mass at 2 p.m.. Fr. Victor Ozonoh will officiate with Deacon Gerald Logan assisting. Tea and reception will follow in the parish hall.
“Wherever I may roam, on land or sea or foam, you’ll always find me singing this song, show me the way to go home.”