8/19/1916 – 4/21/2019
Helen Julia Rusk passed away peacefully on Easter Sunday at the grand old age of 102.
Helen was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1916. Helen and her siblings—four sisters and two brothers—were first generation Americans. Her parents emigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1906.
Helen spent her childhood with her family in Detroit, Michigan. During the depression era, Helen worked as a ‘soda fountain girl’ at Cunningham’s Drug Store, where she met the pharmacist who would become the love of her life, Stanley Rusk, Sr., and they were married in 1937.
Helen and Stan had three sons, William, Richard, and Stanley Jr., whom they raised in Michigan. In addition to caring for her family, Helen volunteered for the Red Cross during WWII. Helen thoroughly enjoyed cooking and gardening throughout her life and was known for her Hungarian chicken paprikash with dumplings and her kiffles cookies during the holidays.
In 1964, Helen and Stan, semi-retired to Santa Barbara, California. Stan worked part-time for Thrifty Drugs, while Helen volunteered as a ‘Pink Lady’ at the local hospitals. Helen and Stan both loved travel and spent much of their time exploring the country by RV. On their travels, they discovered Florence, Oregon, where they decided that they would spend their retirement. They moved to a home among new friends and many pine trees and sand dunes, where they continued to enjoy local travel and their new sea and riverside home.
Stan passed away in 1991 after 54 years of marriage to Helen. Helen lived another 22 years in Oregon, until 2013, when she returned to Carpinteria, California, to live with her youngest son’s family and spend time with her great grandchildren. Helen spent her final years in California at Autumn Years Assisted Living and Victoria Care Center, where she was lovingly cared for and doted upon.
Helen’s love of her family, home-making and adventure defined her life. Through her 102 years of life, she was known for her great-big, warm and mischievous smile. Helen was preceded in death by her beloved husband and two eldest sons. She is survived by her youngest son, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.