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Monday, October 2, 2023
10:00 - 11:00am (Central time)
Monday, October 2, 2023
Starts at 11:00am (Central time)
Helene Blanche (Wanek) Dreas of Winona, passed away of natural causes Saturday, September 23, 2023, at Benedictine Living Community–St. Anne’s Extended Care in Winona.
Helene was born March 8, 1933, in Winona to Edward and Helen (Czaplewski) Wanek. She attended St. Stanislaus Grade School and graduated from Cathedral High School in 1951. Upon graduation Helene worked at Merchants Bank in the bookkeeping and transit departments.
Helene married her high school sweetheart Edward Ronald (Ron) Dreas on October 22, 1955, at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Winona. Ron preceded her in death on January 25, 2022. Together they started their family on Chicago’s North Side while Ron practiced law. There she put into practice the homemaking gifts and skills she learned from her mother and aunts.
In the early 1960's, Helene, Ron and their young family moved back to Winona. She continued her homemaking skills in a new home in Gilmore Valley filling her Polska kuchnia (Polish kitchen) with baking, cooking, canning, and pickling. She had a special knack for sewing and gardening, too. Known to her grandchildren as the “Cookie Grandma”, Helene was always ready to bake tasty treats for family and friends on every occasion.
Outside of the home Helene was active volunteering at St. Mary’s Catholic church and school and later at Cotter High School. She and Ron helped lay the foundation for the Cotter Silent Auction in 1980, and together were recipients of the school’s first St. Joseph Award. While she was a parishioner at St. Stan’s she was a member of the Harvest House service program.
For more than two decades Helene was a friendly face sharing delicious food samples at Midtown Foods in the Winona Mall and later at the current downtown store.
She enjoyed the many family vacations and traveling to warm locations with Ron and their friends. Helene will be remembered for her good-natured attitude, a sharp sense of humor, the joy she shared with her friends, and her love and devotion to family.
Helene is survived by her children, son Thomas (Laura) Dreas, daughter Kathryn Kern, and son Robert (Amy) Dreas. Grandchildren David (Jaqlyn) Dreas, Jennifer (Allen) Assmann, Hannah (Neal) Reykdal, Mollie (Sam) Schellinger, Carolyn (Patrick) Alspaugh, Britta (Sam) Johnson, and Jack Dreas. Great-grandchildren Owen, Miles, Theodore, Calvin, Clara, Madelyn, Livia, Winona, Rosalie, Ada, and Molly. A sister-in-law, Kathy Wanek.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her parents, a brother, Stanley (Janice) Wanek, sister Rosemary (Anthony) Winczewski, brother Edward Wanek, and a son-in law, John Kern.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, October 2, 2023, at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka, 625 East Fourth St., Winona, with visitation at the church beginning at 10 a.m. The Very Reverend Patrick Arens will officiate. Helene will be laid to rest in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Winona.
Memorials can be directed to the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka, Cotter Schools, Benedictine Living Community–Winona, or a charity of the giver’s choice.
Online condolences or memories may be left for Helene’s family at www.watkowski-mulyck.com.
Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.