Helen Hattie Riska, 91, passed away peacefully on Thursday, June 27, 2013, in Kalispell, Mont. She was born in Johnstown, N.Y., on August 14, 1921, to Henry and Pauline (Masarik) Billa.
She completed eighth grade, then started working to help support her family. She worked as a glovemaker in Johnstown. On October 14, 1939, Helen married Joseph F. Riska. They were blessed with three children. She was very proud to have 12 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren.
After retiring from over 30 years as an employee of Kirsch Manufacturing Company in Sturgis, Michigan, Helen enjoyed traveling, making peanut brittle, crocheting, playing cards and dominos. She was a volunteer with Meals on Wheels, the hospital auxiliary, a member of the Altar Society and president of the PTA for St. Patrick’s Catholic School.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Joseph; brothers, Edward and Robert Billa; sisters, Betty Hall, Louise Pavlik, Dolores Miller, and Hattie Billa (who died as an infant); and son-in-law, O.J. Sova. Helen is survived by her siblings, Henry “Hank” Billa and Judy Voorhees; sister-in-law, Irene Colton; brother-in-law, Bill Riska; her children, Jack Riska (Barb) of Missoula, Sally Sova of Kalispell, Joe Riska (Angelita) of Kalispell; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Monday, July 8, at 10 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church in Johnstown, New York with interment following at St. Anthony’s Cemetery.
The suggested memorials are: Risen Christ Parish in Evergreen, Montana; Holy Trinity Church in Johnstown, N.Y.; Auriesville Shrine or St. Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine in Fonda, N.Y.