Serving West Michigan Since 1899

Helen Barna

October 28, 1921 - July 23, 2020
Douglas, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Helen Mary Barna, resident of Grace of Douglas in Douglas, Michigan, died on July 23, 2020 at the age of 98. Helen Kosciusko was born on October 28, 1921 in Frackville in the coal mining region of eastern Pennsylvania to Polish immigrants Leo and JoAnne. Her mother died when she was eight years old and given the vicissitudes of poverty in a small coal town during the Great Depression, Helen left home and school at 14 to live and work for a local family in their restaurant.

Several years later she moved to Detroit, Michigan to join family members. She married Nicholas Barna at Saints Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church in April of 1944 several months before his deployment to Europe in the U.S. Army. Following the war they lived in Herman Gardens in Detroit moving to Garden City, Michigan in 1949 where they purchased a home. In 1955 Nicholas died suddenly following surgery and Helen raised their three sons, Nicholas Jr., Brian and Frank.

Helen found pleasure in raising her boys, visiting with her extended family, cooking, gardening and attending St. Dunstan Catholic Church where she was a member. She was employed at Ford Motor Company world headquarters and later at the Detroit Coca-Cola bottling plant. Tragedy revisited Helen and her family with the early death of two of daughter in-laws, Carol in 1978 and Mary Lou in 2002.

After leaving the home where she raised her family Helen lived in Sisson Manor in Dearborn and The Harbours in Fennville. She was preceded in death by her brothers Frank Wojcik, Henry Voychik, Leo, and John, and her sister Catherine Kosciusko. She is survived by her sons, daughter in-laws Beverly, Kay, and Dawn, grandchildren Nicholas, Martin, Alexander and Lillian, great-grandchildren Sam, Adele and Griffin, granddaughter in-law Ann, as well as many nieces and nephews. Her ashes will be interred at Parkview Memorial in Livonia, Michigan next to her husband. A memorial to celebrate her life will be held once the threat of covid-19 has passed.

Arrangements are by Dykstra Funeral Home – Saugatuck Chapel.