Helen “Cookie” Elia passed peacefully at St. Lukes’s Health Center on April 2, 2021.
She was born July 6, 1926 in Windber, Pennsylvania to Stephen and Helen Tadryzinski, Polish immigrants. She was the middle child of nine children. Due to the depression, her father lost his job as a coal miner and the family moved to New York City. Helen grew up there and was a “Rosie the Riveter” working in a defense plant to support the WWII effort. In New York City, she met and married Clarence Trexler on October 12, 1946.
They had four children. Jacqueline who predeceased her in August 1996, Thomas Trexler, Melanie Trexler and Gregory Trexler. Seven grandchildren Adam Trexler, Emily Trexler (Robert Worth), Michael Trexler, (Kelly Shima), Lexie Kahanovitz, (Adam Strauss), Katie Kahanovitz (Nick Sliva), Eric Trexler and Jeanette Trexler Sweeney. She was delighted to have six great-grandchildren.
Helen maintained two jobs while raising four children to help support her then husband Clarence Trexler’s college education. Once he received his doctorate from Columbia University, the family moved to Oswego, NY where he was offered a professorship at SUNY Oswego.
She went on to earn her college and master’s degree at SUNY Oswego. She was a reading teacher for the Fulton School District until her retirement in 1986.
She was a dedicated community volunteer. Just to name a few, President of the Fulton Polish Club, Oswego Harborfest, Oswego YMCA advocate and a dedicated volunteer for the United Way of Greater Oswego County.
She was predeceased by her second husband, Anthony Elia, in 2000.
The family wants to thank her dear friend Donna Shortt for her loyal and loving friendship, her neighbors at Harbor House, her buddies at the YMCA, and the staff at St. Luke’s Health Services. She had a great life thanks to the wonderful people of this community. It’s their love and support that kept Helen’s sense of humor, compassion for others and great spirit alive. The family thanks the community for all the love and support our mother had received throughout her 94 years.
Arrangements are in care of Nelson Funeral Home.