Passed away peacefully on September 25th , 2022. Beloved wife of the late Malcolm (Mac) Coyea.
Cherished mother of Jeannette Coyea (Ben), Gregory, Christopher (Alex) and Jackie Empey (Jim). She is
fondly remembered by her grandchildren Ryan Mitchell (Natasha), Tyler, Tonya Coyea (Toby), Christa
Seeley (Robert), Danielle Manely (Joey), Travis Empey (Vero), Dan Seeley and great grandchildren
Jackson, Liam, Jack, Eva, Paddy and Florence. Missed by many nieces, nephews, and friends.
Predeceased by brothers Bidwell & Melvin Phelps and sister Edna Spicer.
Helen was born on May 5, 1926, two weeks after Princess Elizabeth. Her mother said, “if the name
Elizabeth is good enough for the Princess, it’s good enough for our new baby girl” and Helen Elizabeth
Phelps came to be.
She grew up on the Sixth Concession and attended school in a one room schoolhouse and high school in
North Augusta. She started work at the age of 16 at Phillips Cables. She later worked for Dr. McBroom,
The Stetson Hat Factory, Brockville Psychiatric Hospital, and finally retired from St. Lawrence Lodge in
1983. Between employment at Stetson Hats’ and the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital, mom attended
Queen’s University and obtained her Occupational Therapy Assistant certification.
She met Mac in the spring of 1947 and love was so certain, they were married later that year on
September 25 th marked one day after the 21 st anniversary of Mac’s passing. (September 24 th , 2001). For
those who knew them, they were inseparable, and Mac had had enough and called mom to be with him.
Helen and Mac dedicated themselves to creating a loving home which included 2 grandmothers, raising
a family of 4 children and resulted in 54 wonderful years of marriage. Their love of travel took them
across the United States to California and up the coast to British Columbia, then across Canada and
down through the Dakotas and up through Ontario and home. Together they journeyed to Ireland and
Italy and later mom cruised to Alaska with family and friends. Accompanied by granddaughter Christa,
mom travelled to Germany, England, and Belgium. She also travelled with Christa, Jackie, and Jim to
Scotland at the age of 91. She loved being a member of the girls, doing paint nights, Black Friday
shopping, numerous trips to Florida and Vegas to boot. As well she made a second trip with daughter
Jeannette to Italy and a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Her trips to Italy resulted in audiences with two
different popes. Mac & Helen also loved spending time in Florida with their kids and grand kids.
Helen and Mac were always together and had many good friends in their social and church
communities. Bridge had to be played on a weekly basis. They were always there for everyone, and
their volunteer efforts together were endless as with co convening the St. Francis Xavier Christmas
Dinner and Meals & Wheels. After Mac’s passing, Helen carried on her extensive volunteer work which
included: President of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Women’s’ League, an active member of Club 85,
the Shepherd Centre and the St. Lawrence Lodge Auxiliary. She prepared meals at Loaves & Fishes,
served breakfast to children at St. Francis School, visited the needy with the Society of St. Vincent de
Paul and said the Rosary with the residents of St. Lawrence Lodge.
Family and friends may call at the Irvine Funeral Home, 4 James Street East, Brockville on Thursday,
September 29th, from 2 to 5 pm.
A Funeral Mass will take place at St. Francis Xavier Parish, Brockville at 2 pm on Friday, September 30th, 2022. Immediately following the mass, a graveside service will be held at St. Laurence O’Toole Cemetery, Spencerville. A reception will follow at Irvine Memorial Chapel at Roselawn, 2451 County Road 15, Maitland at 4:30 pm.
As expressions of sympathy, donations to the St. Vincent de Paul Society or Loaves and Fishes will be
Send condolences or share a special thought oh Helen on the Memory Wall above.