Cover photo for Helen P. Valentzas's Obituary
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1920 Helen 2024

Helen P. Valentzas

July 24, 1920 — March 20, 2024

Oak Bluffs

Helen Ligor (Gusha) Valentzas, 103, of Oak Bluffs, died Wednesday, March 20, at Windemere Nursing and Rehab.
Helen is survived by her son, George Valentzas, also of Oak Bluffs. She was predeceased by her husband, Peter, and her daughter, Kathryn Collins, and her siblings Ligor Gusha of Holden, and George Gusha of Florida. She is also survived by her granddaughter Eleni Roriz, her son-in-law Johnny, her great-grandchildren John Peter and Eva Eden, all of Oak Bluffs, and many nieces and nephews.
   Helen was born on July 24, 1920, in Worcester to Vangel and Katherine (Sotir) Gusha, both of Greece. She met Peter in the early 1940s and they married in Worcester on April 28, 1946.
She was a career woman, dressed smartly and fashionably, and worked at Denholms department store in Worcester where she was a seamstress. She is widely remembered for her many years at the family’s Eden Garden Restaurant, and Circe’s, both in Worcester. A force in her family, she spoke with authority and most paid attention. She was a beloved aunt to her many nieces and nephews, one they looked up to as teenagers.
Helen and Peter bought their Vineyard home in the late 1960s, and then retired to the Island full-time in 1986, joining many other family members in Oak Bluffs.
   Once settled into Island life, Helen took a part-time job at the A&P in Edgartown, where she worked the express lane checkout. She enjoyed socializing with the customers and fondly remembered her years there.
When people first think of Helen, oftentimes they think of food. In her home, she had charge in the kitchen, and would make meals for all. Peanut butter balls were a family favorite. She also loved making traditional Albanian and Greek cuisine, from mousaka, to koulourakia and kourabiedes. She was known for sending along her many homemade jellies, spanakopita, and candies to friends and family whenever they visited. You did not leave her house empty-handed.
   In the 1990s, she was part of a ladies group who met at the Methodist church in Oak Bluffs, and often enjoyed lunch together and trips off-island. She enjoyed knitting, sewing, and crocheting, and made beautiful afghans, blankets, and clothes that her family still has today. She also loved playing cards. You would often find her at her dining room table playing Solitaire.
  After her husband passed away in 2012, Helen remained very independent, living on her own until seven years ago, when she broke her femur and moved into the nursing home. Up until then, she shopped, cooked, hosted holidays, spent time with family, and kept everyone in line.
In her last few years she enjoyed visits from her family, especially her great-grandchildren, who were loud and silly and made her laugh.
Helen enjoyed many outings while at Windemere, such as lunch at the Seafood Shanty, a visit to Misty Meadows, and even sailing in Menemsha. Her family is grateful to the staff for their care and devotion to Helen.

A graveside service will be held on Wednesday, April 3, at 12 noon at Hope Cemetery in Worcester. 


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