Helen A. DeGennaro, 88, Watertown

WATERTOWN, NY –  Helen A. DeGennaro, 88, Watertown, passed away peacefully March 5, 2020, at Samaritan Keep Home surrounded by her loving family.

Helen was born Feb. 27, 1932, in Watertown, NY, daughter of Albert and Anna St. Pierre.  She attended Immaculate Heart Academy.

She married Louis V. DeGennaro on Feb. 28, 1954, and moved to New York City where the couple would have three children, eventually settling in the suburbs of Queens, NY.

In 1974, after the loss of her husband, she returned to the love and support of her family and the comfort of small-town living that Watertown offered, to raise her children.

Helen was employed by Chesebrough-Pond, Inc. for several years before purchasing Sayles Tobacco and Newsstand in downtown Watertown to try her hand at operating her own business.

The tranquility of the ocean and warmer climate would then call to her and she joined her daughter, Cathy, in Norfolk, Virginia. She was employed at the Navy Exchange for over 20 years, where she developed many friendships. Health concerns in 2010 forced her to retire and return to Northern New York.

Helen, was greatly known for her continual smiling, laughter, generous nature, and compassionate spirit. One of her best qualities was her sense of humor. That along with her quick wit only added to the success of her comedy. She had a true passion for helping others, no matter the size of the task.  Helen’s personal mantra was “it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice”. Despite her struggles with aphasia, she always managed to say, “thank you” and “I love you”.

Helen was a gifted artist and cook with a true love of fine food, a passion that she passed on to her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed boating, fishing, drawing, crafting and bingo. Her love of the ocean often brought her to the shoreline where she could be found strolling the beach in search of seashells, which she would collect and use for creating jewelry or pieces of art that she would gift to friends and family. This hobby earned her the nickname “Shelen”.

Her greatest love, however, was spending time surrounded by her family, laughing and sharing stories. Helen will be remembered by all her knew her for her quick wit, graceful style and gentle spirit. Her family will carry on her favorite recipes, wit, work ethic and loving heart.

Surviving are her children, Vinnie (Mitzi) DeGennaro, Watertown, NY, Debi Hughes, Brownville, NY, Cathy (Vincent) Conte, Norfolk, VA; a sister, Delina “Betty” Tubolino, Watertown, NY; a brother, David (Susan) St. Pierre, King of Prussia, PA, five grandchildren, Cristina (Ken) Lawrence, Mandy DeGennaro, Cheyenne (Dan) Hughes-Reid, Vincent Conte, Cianna Hughes; five great-grandchildren, Alyssa, Jackson, Landen, Leighton, Grayson, along with several nieces and nephews and many dear friends.

Helen was predeceased by her parents, brother, Joseph “Bobby” St. Pierre and a son-in-law, Kevin Hughes.

Helen’s family wish to offer their sincere thanks to the staff at Samaritan Keep Home 6th floor, Summit Village, and Hospice for their loving care and compassion.

Mom, may your beautiful soul go in peace with God. Until we meet again…

Calling hours will be 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, at the D.L. Calarco Funeral Home, Inc.  A funeral service will begin at 5:00 p.m. with Rev. Leon Shilling officiating. Burial will be at the convenience of the family in Brookside Cemetery.

Contributions may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Condolences may be made to www.dlcalarco.com