JARA, HELEN ROSE March 23, 1923 to May 3, 2003 After a courageous struggle, Helen Rose Jara lost her year long battle with the bone marrow disease Myelofibrosis. Helen, who recently celebrated her 80th birthday, was born in Chicago, Ill. It was there that she met and married the love of her life, the late Stephen N. Jara (who died January 26, 1999). The date of Helen ' s death would have marked the 83rd birthday of her beloved Steve. In August they would have commemorated their 60th anniversary. In 1944, Helen moved to San Diego to join Steve who was stationed at Camp Pendleton. After the war, they began raising their family and in 1955 they purchased their first home in Allied Gardens. Throughout her life, Helen and her family shared a very special connection with their extended family from this close-knit community. Relatives and visitors from the Midwest were welcomed often and always treated to the ``grand tour ' ' of our fine city. Helen was born with a true gift for motherhood. Her children and their friends invariably gathered at the Jara house, often described as ``Grand Central Station. ' ' Everyone knew that Helen could whip up something delicious in no time at all. She was also an avid gardener, with the proverbial green thumb and a garden overflowing with color and texture all year round. She taught her children to appreciate music, to value their education and to achieve self-reliance. She instilled a sense of pride in learning to sew your own clothes, paint your own room or even conquer the power lawn mower. In the 1980 ' s, Helen returned to part-time work outside the home. Quite naturally, she was drawn to a field that combined both nurturing and nourishment. She joined the San Diego school system and worked in Food Services in the Tierrasanta elementary schools. In 1990, Helen became a breast cancer survivor. That year she met her wonderful friends at a water aerobics class. A lasting relationship was formed with these lovely ladies, who refer to themselves as Water Ballerinas. After her bypass surgery in 1994, Helen ' s appreciation for exercise and the support of these remarkable women grew even stronger. Helen was an amazing inspiration and role model. She valued family and friendship above all. People were naturally drawn to her and impressed by her strength, energy, compassion and her joyous sense of humor. She was deeply loved and will be missed by everyone who knew her. Preceded in death by son David (1955-1960) and son-in-law Michael Ciborowski (1946-2003), Helen is survived by her daughters Pam Ciborowski, Bev Larsen (Terry), Cathy Becker (Paul); sons Thomas Jara (Laura), Timothy Jara (Pam); grandsons Jeff Ciborowski, David Jara, Kevin Jara and Adam Jara; granddaughters Torria Larsen, Jennifer Jara and Brittney Jara, all of San Diego. She is also survived by her brother Jerry Saimon (Florence) North Palm Beach, Fla., cousin Rosalie Keys (George) Scottsdale, Ariz., and cousin Ken Karr (Jean) of Solana Beach, Calif. A Mass for the celebration of Helen ' s life will be held Friday, May 9, at 10 a.m., at the Mission San Diego de Alcala, where Helen and Steve were devoted parishoners, dating back to 1955. At the Jara family request, memorial contributions may be made to Lake View Home, Hospice Care, 9472 Loren Dr., La Mesa CA 91942.
Published in the San Diego Union-Tribune on 5/6/2003. (volunteer submission)