She was a woman who was ahead of her time. And when she died on March 3 at the age of 97, Helen Jablonski left a long list of accomplishments. At the time of her death she was a resident of the Woodlands, the assisted living facility at Cantata Adult Life Services in Brookfield. Prior to that she was a longtime resident of Riverside, where she and her husband Harry raised their two sons, Bruce and Russell.
Helen took an active part in the family sign-painting business with her husband. The couple ran the sign shop, with Helen handling the business end. With a business to run and two boys to raise, she also found time to be an active member of the League of Women Voters.
Her church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Riverside was an important part of her life. She taught classes there in parent effectiveness training and assertiveness training for women, a class she was highly qualified to teach. She also taught Christian education at the church.
One of her greatest accomplishments came in 1990 when she founded PeopleCare based at St. Paul’s, a program that grew out of a need to helping homebound elders. Assembling a team of volunteers, Jablonski spearheaded the organization that serves more than 200 clients in Riverside, North Riverside, Lyons, Brookfield and LaGrange.
Helen was a presence at PeopleCare, coming in to work five days a week as late as 2012, when she “cut back” her hours to four days a week. In 2013 she came in only for staff meetings, but still kept in touch with what was happening at PeopleCare through her son Bruce, who now is the director of the organization.
Bruce Jablonski said it was a lucky privilege for him to be working with his mother, because he saw her not just as his mom but saw her in a different light.
Helen was someone that many were proud to know, as was evidenced by the number of people who came to celebrate her life on March 8 at St. Paul’s Church. According to her son, she believed that God is the people and that we see Him through the people.
She was ahead of her time, a woman of today who has left a legacy to be remembered and definitely someone we should know about.