“Our beloved Mom, Helen Ohla (Cybulka) Cotnam was born in Sudbury on November 29, 1919 to her immigrant European parents Michael & Annie (Mariash) Cybulka. She grew up in a large three story house that was then located on the corner of Paris (Young) and Elm streets, approximately where Hnatyshyn Park is now located. Mom was one of six siblings: Hiaffea (McAllister), Jessie (Maloney), Helen, Zonia (Haines), Paul (all predeceased) and Ann (Mutuchky). Mom gained her strong work ethic early in life by helping out with the large number of chores that were involved in running a rooming house with a growing family. A quick study, Mom was particularly gifted in languages and was exposed to several through her parents and their renters. In her late teens she apprenticed as waitress in a few of the downtown Sudbury restaurants, then took part in the war effort by working for International Nickel Company at the Copper Cliff Smelter. This is where she met our late father, John Anthony Cotnam, who swept her off her feet to marriage in 1943. Their first child and only daughter, is Jessie MacIsaac (Charlie - predeceased) , followed shortly after by sons: Gary (Heli), then John (friend Joyce Menger) and lastly, Don (Roberta). Mom had two granddaughters: Liisa Cotnam and Melody Cappelletti-Cotnam (predeceased) and two great-granddaughters, Alexandra and Lauren Lemega.
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Mom was widely recognized for her vast memory and could instantly recall the birth dates of all family members and most of our neighbours and their children. It was far easier to just ask Mom rather than try to look up birth dates of our many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Diminutive in stature at 4’ 11-1/2”, she was fiercely defendant of her children as certain professionals learned to their dismay. Mom always displayed a positive attitude, she loved to sing (in several languages), dance and socialize. She enjoyed sewing, learning to play the mandolin and organ, pottery, leather craft and was an avid reader. She was a very friendly person who loved being with people. Those who knew her saw her as sweet, curious and always ready to try new things. Mom was a caring communicator, a dedicated correspondent and was particularly proficient in keeping in regular touch with family and friends through letters and event cards. A point of pride for Mom (and for us) was her winning the 60 and over category of the Dove Search for Canada’s Classic Beauty contest which was published in the November 1988 issue of Chatelaine Magazine. Mom was active for many years in the following organizations: Brown Owl Leader for the Brownies and then with the Girl Guides, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Lions Club Band, Red Cross, Sudbury Armoury as “Bombardier Cotnam”, as a long time canvasser for the Arthritis Society, Christ the King CWL, the Sudbury Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Ottawa Valley Club and became a regular institution up to age 85 with the Regal Sales group.
Mom is survived by her four children and their spouses, her granddaughter and great-granddaughters, her sister Ann Mutuchky, her sister-in-law Elaine Risto and a large extended family of in-laws, nieces, nephews and godchildren. She outlived most of her friends with the exception of two, her old pal Edie Frattini and her friend Laura Vincent. Mom was always proud of being a Sudburian. She loved life and was young at heart. Mom enjoyed good physical health all her life. She took her last breath while sitting at the kitchen table having breakfast in her home on Sunday, February 24th, 2019, peacefully, naturally.
The Cotnam family thanks all of the individuals and agencies that were instrumental in Mom's care with particular thanks to Don, Roberta and Jessie who enabled Mom to fulfill her wish of completing her life at home.
Donations in lieu of flowers to the Sudbury Alzheimer’s Society, the Christ the King Church Building Fund, or the Sudbury Horticultural Society would be appreciated.”
Jackson and Barnard Funeral Home
233 Larch St., Sudbury
(Friends may call 2-6pm Sunday).
Christ the King Church
Monday, March 4th, 2019 at 10am.
Interment in the Civic Cemetery.