Beloved Wife, Mother, Grandma Devoted to Family and Faith
August 22, 1919 – April 5, 2013, of Naples, Florida, St. Paul, MN, Garrison, MN. Helen Catherine (Rea) Bisanz died at the age of 93 in Naples, Florida. A beautiful lady, Helen was born in Billings, Montana on August 22, 1919 to James Rea and Frances “Pansy” O’Brien. The family moved to St. Paul in 1925 where Helen attended St. Joseph’s Academy and the University of Minnesota. Helen married Leonard W. Bisanz in 1943 and spent the war years shuttling between Pensacola, Florida, where Leonard was a naval flight instructor, and St. Paul. Helen and Len had eight children: Elizabeth “Betty” Norqual (Don), Susan Nicholson (Jim), Mary Catherine “Kay” Berres (Roger), Joseph F. Bisanz (Virginia), Anne Hannahan (John), Thomas L. Bisanz (Susan), and James R. Bisanz. Helen was blessed with 21 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. A devoted Catholic, Helen was a faithful member of St. Therese/Lumen Christi Parish in St. Paul; Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Garrison, Minnesota; and St. William Parish in Naples, Florida. A Lady of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, Helen was a member of the St. Thomas Academy Mother’s Club and served as a religious education instructor and Eucharistic Minister. Helen served as a nurse’s aide for the US Navy during World War II and as a volunteer for the St. Joseph’s Hospital Auxiliary. A woman of many interests, Helen was an exceptional golfer, winning championships into her 80’s. She discontinued golf at age 90 because she’d “played enough” plus 9-hole golfers were “too slow.” She was a White Satin Sugar Girl in the St. Paul Winter Carnival and a loon caller of considerable renown. Later in life, she became a water colorist of note exhibiting for several years in the Pelican Bay Art Show. Helen was preceded in death by Leonard W. Bisanz, her husband of almost 60 years; her parents; brothers, George, Charles, William “Bill”, and James Rea; sisters, Marjorie Blatzheim, Dorothy Lavacot, and Elizabeth Sorenson; newborn, Francis “Buzzy” Bisanz. Helen was a woman of grace and humor who embraced life and loved God and her family above all. She will be greatly missed. In lieu of flowers gifts may be made honoring Helen’s memory to the Leonard W. Bisanz Scholarship Endowment Fund at St. Catherine University (2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105) or the St. Paul Seminary (2115 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105.) Visitation is scheduled Tuesday, April 16, from 9:00 – 11:00 AM at Lumen Christi Catholic Church (2055 Bohland Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55116). Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11:00 AM. Private burial at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.