Obituary Notices and Memorials


CALANDE, Helen Gabriel Meenan Died peacefully on May 10, 2017 in Lancaster. Helen was born Dec. 3, 1931, to Patrick and Elizabeth Meenan in Derry, Northern Ireland. Her father was a prominent Derry politician who served as an Alderman for the City of Derry for decades. Helen left home at 16 to live in London, England, where she worked as a stenographer before emigrating to the US in 1951. She married her beloved husband of 63 years, Armand Richard Calande (known as 'Dick' or 'Cal'), in West Warwick, Rhode Island, and they had a family of five children while Dick was serving in the US Air Force. The family was stationed in Cape Cod, Mass., Fla., Japan and finally at Edwards, Calif. Helen completed secondary school in Derry, attended secretarial school in London and also attended AV College. She was employed as an executive secretary for Southern California Edison in Lancaster for over 20 years. Helen was a parishioner of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lancaster for nearly 50 years, where she was active in prayer groups, Right to Life, and in comforting elderly widows and other women and children on their own. Helen was an Irish beauty with a gracious and sparkling personality, elegance, charm, wit and a wonderful sense of humor. She was also a naturally gifted pianist and entertainer who could play almost any tune by ear, making her the highlight of many parties and gatherings, especially among the Antelope Valleys Irish and English expatriate ladies. Helen also played the cello and violin in youth orchestras in her native Derry. Helen always adored old movies, as it was her primary entertainment in childhood, and she could recite from memory many scenes of dialogue from classic movies. She also loved to bake elaborate layer cakes to share with family and friends. In retirement, Helen and Dick split their time between their home in Lancaster, camp summers at Twin Lakes near Yosemite, and a seaside house in Falcarragh, Donegal, Ireland. In their later years, Helen and Dick also spent months at a time with Helens extended family in her native Derry. Helen is survived by her children: Bryan Calande of Bakersfield, Calif.; Richard (Barbara Kivisto) Calande of Palmdale, Calif.; Denise (Ronald) Kariger of Quartz Hill, Calif.; and Pauline (the late John) Calande Braswell of Alexandria, Va.; as well as by her grandchildren Amy and Theresa Kariger, and great-grandchild Alex Kariger, all of Quartz Hill, Calif. Helen is also survived by her sister Marcella Damwebber, of Virginia Beach, Va.; her sisters-in-law Jeannine (Philip) Holmen of Doylestown, Pa. and Shirley (the late Roger) Calande of Coventry, R.I.; her brothers-in-law Gerald (Barbara DAmato) Calande of Coventry, R.I. and Ernest (Meg) Calande of Bradenton, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews, cousins and friends in the US and Ireland. Helen was preceded in death by by her husband Dick and her son Michael; her parents, Patrick and Elizabeth Meenan; and siblings Patrick, Seamus, Terence, John, Betty, Peter, Michael, Celine, Laurence and Brendan Meenan, Bridie ODoherty, Sheila Thompson, Nina Lefebvre, Isobel Carmack and Fidelma Crotser. A visitation for Helen will be held on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, from 5-8 p.m. at Halley-Olsen-Murphy Funerals, 44831 N. Cedar Ave., Lancaster, Calif. Helens Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Wed., May 17, 2017, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 565 W. Kettering St., in Lancaster, Calif. Burial will follow immediately thereafter at Joshua Memorial Cemetery.

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