elevated A3jFP Helen was born September 26, 1935, in Grassland, Alberta, to parents, Vasyl (William) and Annie (née Fidunchuk) Zamostny. Her family moved from Grassland to Toronto when she was 12 years old.
elevated A3jFP While in Toronto, she met and married Michael C. Shanahan of West Cork Ireland, near Bantry Bay (Village of Durrus), on May 5th, 1955 at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Toronto. They would relocate to the house at 7th Street in Etobicoke on The Lakeshore, where with love, they started and raised their family of 5 children over the course of 40 years. Motherhood and her family were Helen’s life work and devotion.
elevated A3jFP Helen’s children and grandchildren were her pride and joy. Her quiet, sensitive and selfless spirit always put the needs of others before hers. She was deeply proud of the academic and career accomplishments of her 5 children, who all graduated from university and started strong Catholic families of their own. Her grandchildren were another point of pride and joy for her. She relished in their many accomplishments and delighted in providing them care. She kept all of their various newspaper clippings, artworks, writing, athletic awards, school pictures and accomplishments displayed throughout her home; she was their biggest fan.
elevated A3jFP Helen was a kind, generous and empathetic woman who felt deeply for those in situations of need, particularly women and children. She had an unwavering devotion to Our Holy Mother and The Merciful Redeemer. When unable to attend church, she would watch the Catholic Eternal Word Station daily to partake in mass and reflect on her faith and the life of Christ. She was never found without a rosary in her hands, which she prayed often throughout her days.
elevated A3jFP Helen loved her siblings, holding close friendships with her sisters, particularly Jean, whom she mourned deeply upon passing. She loved Jean’s children Michelle, Gregory and Terry like they were her own. She often reflected on her childhood growing up on the farm and though it was humble, it is where she harnessed her hardworking, pioneering spirit of resilience, hope and perseverance. She spoke often of her mother and father, sharing memories of the incredible accomplishment of building lives in a new country from nothing. In Grassland, they had built their log cabin with their own hands, learned to speak English, farmed the difficult prairie land and raised their family, of which Helen was the youngest.
elevated A3jFP She was proud of her Ukrainian and Polish roots, but also embraced her husband’s Irish culture. Helen was a fixture at Irish Dance Competitions throughout North America, where her children were National and World Champions. She loved Irish music, art, and a good soda bread with her morning tea. Her sons Kevin and Christopher were also very accomplished track athletes.
elevated A3jFP She was a private lady of considerable grace with old fashioned manners and a meticulous sense of order. Like the roses in her gardens that she so loved, she was breathtakingly beautiful throughout her entire life.
elevated A3jFP Preceding Helen in death is her beloved husband, Michael; her parents; and siblings. Survivors include her children, Michael and his wife, Joan, Kevin and his wife, Maureen, Bernadette, and her husband, Brian, Christoper, and his wife, Rebecca, Catherine, and her husband, Craig; and fourteen grandchildren, Katie, Steven, Breanna, Aislinn, Michael, Heather, Liam, Catarina, Riley, Joseph, Henry, Lana, Alice, and Helen.
elevated A3jFP Though she was of small stature, standing barely 5 feet, she was mighty. We will forever miss her and pray for her as she did for us.
elevated A3jFP Visitations will be held privately with her immediate family. Please keep her in your hearts and prayers.
elevated A3jFP In lieu of flowers, please have a mass said in her name.