April 16, 1941 – May 17, 2022
Helga Bonkowski of Nanaimo BC, passed away on May 17, 2022.
Helga was born in Friedrichsbruch, Germany on April 16, 1941. At the end of WWII, her family became refugees and were eventually settled in West Germany for a time before moving to Canada in early 1950’s. After high school, Helga went on to become a primary school teacher and will be remembered by many students and parents for her calm and quiet teaching style, and for creating happy and interesting classroom spaces where each child could bloom. Helga completed a Bachelor of Education in 1974. She had a desire to help university students with their educational costs, and so she established the VIU Helga Bonkowski Education Award in 1992 which has assisted many students over the years. Helga valued education, and so she has generously ensured that this award will be available for many years to come.
Helga had diverse interests including line dancing and clogging. She loved to travel and saw many parts of the world. Helga also walked for miles with the Nanaimo Wanderer’s Club, she paddled with the Angels Abreast dragon boat team, she was a member of the Retired Teachers Association and the German Club, and she also sang in the German Choir. She supported many charities including Operation Smile Canada, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, and several other local charities. Helga had a lifelong faith in God, and she was proud to call St. Paul’s Lutheran and its congregation her church home and family for most of her life.
Helga was predeceased by her parents Ferdinand and Elsa, infant siblings Leo, Paul and Edith, sister Trautchen, and brothers Kurt and Heinz. Helga is survived by her brothers Waldi(Georgina) and Dieter (Tina), many nieces and nephews, and childhood friend Sandra. She will be greatly missed.
A memorial service for Helga will be held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Nanaimo on Saturday June 18, 2022 at 12:30pm. A tea will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.
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