Helen E. Bisio passed away at her daughter’s home on April 2, 2011, after a lengthy illness. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on Jan. 17, 1927, to Andrei and Anna Ghetia, both immigrants from Romania. She was the sixth in a lively family of seven children.
During WWII, Helen began a pen pal relationship with an American airman serving as a tail gunner in England. Upon his return from the war and a short courtship, Helen married James D. Bisio on Oct. 19, 1946, in Cleveland, Ohio.
After their marriage, Helen and Jim moved briefly to Chicago, Ill. In 1948, they moved permanently to Durango, Colo., where they raised their two children in the beauty of the San Juan mountains. She enjoyed many summers camping above Silverton and winters skiing at Purgatory with her family who was her greatest pride and joy.
Helen was a fastidious bookkeeper and worked in the business offices of both School District 9-R and Fort Lewis College. She was a woman of strong opinions and convictions and was known by the neighbor children as “Big Helen” although she weighed less than 100 pounds. She retired in the mid 1980s and enjoyed a decade of RV’ing and trips to Mexico and Europe. She especially enjoyed the culture and cuisine of Italy and became an excellent Italian cook.
In 2005, the Bisios moved to Pagosa Springs to be nearer to family. Helen was preceded in death by her parents, three brothers and two sisters and her son-in-law, David C. Mitchell. She is survived by James D. Bisio, her husband of 64 years; a son, James A. Bisio, and daughter-in-law Jolita of Colorado Springs, Colo.; daughter Cynthia Mitchell of Pagosa Springs; grandson Drew Mitchell of Kalispell, Mont.; sister Mary V. Ghetia of Rocky River, Ohio; and eight nieces and nephews.
Cremation has occurred and a private family gathering will take place this summer when the grass is green and the columbines are in bloom on Wolf Creek Pass.