3 p.m., April 10)
Queenswood Heights pioneer will be deeply missed
By Heather Jamieson
The Orléans Star
One would be hard pressed to find any aspect of life in Queenswood
Heights over the past 50 years in which Helen Tweddle
didn’t play a part. Her March 24 death, at the age of
78, has left the entire community in mourning.
the day Helen Tweddle first moved to Queenswood
Heights with her husband Al and the first
of their five children in 1963, she devoted
her life to her community. Photo courtesy
of the Tweddle family
Toronto native moved to Ottawa in 1961 with her husband
Al for his job at the National Research Council.
they decided to move from an apartment to a house with
the first two of their five children in 1963, the most
economical homes close to Al’s work were in the fledgling
Queenswood Heights development. It wasn’t exactly in the
middle of nowhere, but close. The unpaved road to get
to their Sault Street home was more goat path than street.
remember when we moved in, it rained all day and we had
a sea of mud and water in front of the house,” she reminisced
in “Queenswood Heights: Memories from up the Hill,” a
book she began with fellow resident Lori Nash in 2002.
After Nash’s death in 2012, the book was completed by
Helen and her daughter Sue Guarda.
youngest child Terrie told the hundreds gathered at her
memorial service on April 7 that her strong-willed mom
resisted the temptation to return to the conveniences
of Toronto and “instead of giving up, she got involved.”
Orléans Ward councillor Bob Monette moved to the neighbourhood
in 1983, he quickly realized Helen was dedicated to helping
develop every aspect of Queenswood Heights. “Orléans has
lost a true community builder,” he says
Helen devoted 40 years to producing the Newsliner, a monthly
community bulletin. She was a both a Brownie and Girl
Guide leader. She was an active member of Queenswood United
Church from the day it first opened. She was an organizer
of the annual spring fair; and she was a tireless advocate
for literacy and recreation facilities. She was particularly
proud of starting the Bookworm, a used book store at the
Cumberland Branch of the public library, which has raised
nearly $500,000 to support the library’s activities.
by his children in the home he shared with Helen for 55
of the 59 years they were married, Al spoke with pride
about his wife’s commitment to her family, including three
grandchildren, her church and her community.
was a stay-at-home mom whose career was her family and
building the community,” he said with immense pride. A
tireless community leader himself, Al notes that the list
of Helen’s activities doesn’t reflect how much support
she gave to his own work in the community, especially
with the Friends of Petrie Island which he help found.
Tweddle home was a gathering place for her children and
their friends. Helen, known as Mrs. T, always had time
to listen. She is remembered as never being judgemental,
and in any debate, whether with teenagers or politicians,
she was always respectful and respected.
was also a voracious reader. Her library contained over
3,000 books and her family estimates she read more than
10,000 books in her lifetime.
raising five children and her many community activities,
Helen was able to carve out personal time to read late
at night, after the kids had gone to bed.
all this, she was the main support to daughter Sue through
her bout with breast cancer and had her own battle against
Stage 4 lung cancer 12 years ago.
Queenswood Heights Community Association (QHCA), on which
Helen was a long-serving executive member, is considering
ways to honour Helen and will be consulting with the family
“to ensure it is the perfect thing to reflect her,” says
QHCA president Émelie-Anne Duval.
self-effacing nature was summed up by the heartfelt rhetorical
question Sue asked while addressing the more than 300
friends who gathered at the Heritage Funeral Complex for
her mother’s memorial service on April 7: “Mom, do you
even realize the people you affected or the people you
have touched in your life?”
by her parents Thelma and Lawrence Wilkinson; Helen is
lovingly survived by her husband Allen; brother Bob (Lynne);
sister-in-law Barb (Peter); children Steve, Sue (Bob),
Debbie (Kirk), Mark (Pete) and Terrie (Jason); and grandchildren
Matthew, Courtney and Christopher.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)