Feb. 23, 1925 – Feb. 08, 2021
DU QUOIN – Helena “Helen” S. Holland (nee Semak), 95, recently of Du Quoin, Illinois and a long-time resident of Caruthersville, Missouri passed into the arms of her Heavenly Father on Monday, February 08, 2021, at Du Quoin Nursing and Rehab Center, Du Quoin, Illinois.
She was born on February 23, 1925, in Muszkatowka, Poland, (now a part of Ukraine) the daughter of Jozefa “Joseph” and Petronela “Pearl” (Posyniak) Semak.
Helen immigrated to Webster, Alberta, Canada with her parents on a ship when she was just one-year old. She grew up on a farm in a Polish speaking community, called Peace Country. She was baptized in the Holy Roman Catholic Church prior to her move. She was a member of the Webster Roman Catholic Church and went to school there until she graduated the 8th grade. After graduation, at 14-years old, she and a classmate, moved to nearby Sexsmith, Alberta where they worked at a Chinese restaurant and lived above it. That’s where she learned to speak English. At 17 she became a laundress in Dawson Creek, British Columbia for the WWII American and Canadian troops who were building the highways across British Columbia and Alaska. There she met her soldier, J.M. Holland. They married on October 28th, 1944, at St. Mark’s in Dawson Creek, B.C.
Helen gave birth to their first son, Earl Parmer in Sexsmith, Alberta, Canada in 1945. Helen and Earl settled with J.M. at his home in Caruthersville, MO. where they had two more sons, Bobby Joe in 1949, and Gary Steven in 1951. Helen worked at the Brown Shoe Company before owning and managing Holland’s Drive-In Pit BBQ and Holland’s Service Station with J.M. She also assisted him with record keeping in their hay farming business. She attended the Church of God and the First Presbyterian Church in Caruthersville. Helen has spent the past five years in Southern Illinois making tons of new friends and entertaining her family with her contagious sense of humor.
Along with her husband, she was preceded in death by her sons, Gary Steven, Bobby Joe and Earl Parmer Holland and great-granddaughter, Piper Lynne Buckley. She was also preceded by her parents, and siblings, Bill Semak and Jenny (nee Semak) Pierog.
She is survived by daughters-in-law, Margie Holland of Fort Myers, FL and Betty Holland of Hendersonville, N.C.; grandchildren: Jana Kaye Kuhnert (Todd) of Tamaroa, IL., Heather Lynne Holland (Greville Ward) of Fort Myers, FL., Emily Lyons (Scott) of Fort Myers, FL.; Adam Holland (Andrea) of Brentwood, TN., Clay Holland (Ashleigh) of Hendersonville, TN., and great-grandchildren: Charlie Kuhnert (Amanda) of Du Quoin, IL; Sam Kuhnert (Torie) and Tucker Kuhnert (Madeleine Cravens) of Tamaroa, IL.; Aidan and Austin Holland of Brentwood, TN.; Scarlett and Tripp Lyons, Jasper and Finley Holland of Fort Myers, FL.; Spencer and Chase Holland of Hendersonville, NC.; great-great-granddaughter: Eisley Claire Kuhnert; Along with many beloved nieces, nephews and friends.
In lieu of flowers, as per Helen’s request, memorials can be made to NubAbility Athletics Foundation: www.nubability.org or 221 E. Main St., DuQuoin, IL 62832.
Services will be held Sunday, Feb. 28 at 2:00 p.m. in the H.S. Smith Chapel with Rev. Ricky Lyle. There will then be a processional to Maple Cemetery.
Visitation will begin at 1:00 p.m.
Please follow COVID guidelines with mask and social distancing.