MARLENE “WINKIE” HELELA

Posted On January 1st, 2012 -

MARLENE “WINKIE” HELELA

Marlene “Winkie” Helela of Wailua Homesteads, died at age 76 from the effects of a chronic lung disease on December 25, 2011 at the Wilcox Memorial Hospital Emergency Room, Lihue. Born December 8, 1935 in Honolulu, she was the middle child of Elizabeth and Charles Bernard, deceased. She was preceded in death by an older sister, Ramona, and a younger brother Charles, Jr. She acquired her name, Winkie, from her father who first called her tiddle-di-winks when she was born, “because she was so cute.” The name was later shortened to Winkie. She was educated in Honolulu, first at Saint Anthony’s Catholic School in Kalihi, and later at Saint Francis Convent in Manoa. After graduating from high school in 1954, she enlisted in the Army with several of her classmates and served two years, mostly in California. Upon her discharge from the Army, Winkie settled in San Francisco where she eventually met her future husband, Army Lieutenant David Helela, who had only recently been assigned to Fort Ord, California. Winkie and David married in April 1957. Over the next 30 years of assignments with her husband she would often take on the demanding duties of commander’s wife while also raising three children. In the course of their military assignments, she managed more than a dozen household moves that the family made to locations across the United States and Germany. In retirement, they settled first in Honolulu, then over the past 20 years they have lived happily in Wailua on the island of Kauai. Winkie was truly a devoted wife, a loving mother and an abiding friend.

Winkie is survived by her husband of nearly 55 years, David of Wailua, her children Keith of Omao, Kauai, Kimberly of San Antonio, Texas and Steven (Malia) of Honolulu. She is also survived by grandsons Kristopher Kele Antonio, Noa Hanaloa Helela, Waiea Imiolahooilohookui Helela, Kaiehu Mohalamauliolahalawai Helela, granddaughter Ilana Maluehoe Helela, and beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.

Services in Honolulu to celebrate her life will be held at the Borthwick Mortuary on Maunakea Street Thursday, January 5 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The inurnment of her ashes will be made in a private family gathering at the Punchbowl Cemetery on Friday, January 6 at 2 p.m. (Family members are advised to check in at the office for directions to the site).


- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran