ISHPEMING TWP, MI – Helen Haskell Remien transitioned on Sunday, August 21, 2022, surrounded by friends and family. “Helene of joy” the owner of the Joy Center in Ishpeming, was so many things: a poet, a storyteller, a world traveler, an athlete, a teacher, a yogi, an artist, a fashionista, an ocean and outdoor lover, a wife, a parent, a grandmother, a friend. Those of us who were lucky enough to know Helen carry in our hearts her dynamic spirit, her effervescent personality and her love of life. All of us, friends, family and acquaintances, have been changed for the better, shaped by Helen’s generosity and overflowing joy.

Helen was born in Bath, Maine on January 15, 1956, the daughter of Ernest Haskell, Jr. and Annie Perry Haskell. Her parents were artists and instilled in Helen a passion for creative pursuits. Helen spent her childhood swimming in the ocean and playing on the rocks along the rugged coast of Maine with her sister, Auralie and her brothers, Richard and Ernest. Maine’s landscape: lobster boats, tidal pools, hidden beaches and forested islands, her beloved Sister Point, left an indelible mark and inspired much of Helen’s writing. While Helen moved from Maine to Upper Michigan, swapping the Atlantic Ocean for Lake Superior, she never gave up her Maine roots, returning frequently to visit her mother, sister and his brothers, nephews and nieces, cousins ​​and many friends. She never missed a class meeting.

Helen met her husband, Cam, the love of her life, at the University of Maine. They were married in Bath, Maine on August 6, 1977, and the two embarked on a life of adventure together, moving first to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Cam attended dental school, then to Ishpeming in the Upper Peninsula, where they put down their roots. Their first son, Peter, was born in Ann Arbor in 1980, while Helen and Cam lived in family housing at the University of Michigan, and their second son, Christopher, was born at Bell Memorial Hospital in Ishpeming in 1982. Helen devoted herself to her family with creativity and joy and always nurtured her children’s passions. She welcomed Peter’s wife Shelly Ruspakka to her family in 2004 and Christopher’s wife Diana Mitchell in 2014. Helen and Cam celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary in August.

After moving to Upper Michigan, Helen continued her studies at Northern Michigan University, earning a bachelor’s degree in English (secondary education) and psychology, then a master’s degree in English with a focus on creative writing. Helen then worked for the university, as a founding board member of the NMU Center for Lifelong Learning and an adjunct faculty member in the English Department. It was at NMU that Helen discovered her passion for writing, particularly poetry and creative non-fiction, and she continued to refine her craft throughout her life. She has traveled to participate in workshops of famous writers like Galway Kinnell, Sharon Olds, Natalie Goldberg and Carolyn Forche, and she has published more than a dozen books, including memoirs, collections of poetry and collections of trials. She has also participated in several personal growth workshops given by famous teachers such as Gene Houston and Sonia Choquette. Always eager for adventure, Helen attended trapeze school in her 50s at the Omega Institute in New York, where she learned the high-flying art. Helen was a member of the National Association of Poetry Therapists and for many years led writing and creativity workshops, establishing herself as a cornerstone of Ishpeming’s creative arts community.

As she nurtured her passion for writing, Helen also discovered her love for travel. Driven to political action by international injustice, Helen traveled to Nicaragua in 1987 with the peace activist group Witness for Peace. Inspired by this trip and a desire to learn more about different cultures, Helen set out to travel the world with her husband, Cam. The two have maintained an annual tradition of a “Mystery Journey” where one of them would plan an international trip without revealing the destination or details to the other. Together they traveled to faraway places like Portugal, Morocco, India, Greece and Belize on trips filled with exploration, adventure and international cuisine. Highlights of their travels include renting a motorhome to watch many of the Tour de France stages and hiking the El Camino pilgrimage route in Spain. Helen has always been eager to share her travel adventures with others through her writings and storytelling.

Wishing to share her creative passions, Helen established the Joy Center in 2008 as a creative sanctuary for teaching yoga and the arts in the Ishpeming community. As the owner of Joy Center, Helen, who trained at Kripalu Yoga Center in Massachusetts, has taught yoga classes and led numerous creativity workshops, and she has also hosted a number of free community events. popular as “Out loud” and “Dinner and a movie.” Helen cherished the community of writers, artists, yogis, healers, and (especially) friends who gathered at the Joy Center.

While Helen’s life was filled with blessings, her greatest joys were her four grandchildren: Viren, Addie, Aila and Wesley Ernest. Helen frequently traveled to Idaho to take them each on special adventures, savoring their individual and unique personalities. She returned from each adventure with photos and stories and compiled them into beautifully handcrafted books for each grandchild. These books are treasured keepsakes of time spent with a grandmother who loved them more than anything.

Helen lived a life of joy and was loved by so many. In his own words, “I believe in joy. I believe that deep within us there is a source of bubbling, overflowing and delightful joy, and that it is up to each of us, if we choose, to find our connection with this energy, again and again and again. . We will all remember the joy of Helen’s brilliant mind and the joy she brought to all of our lives.

A celebration of Helen’s life will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 at the Joy Center (1492 Southwood Drive, Ishpeming). Helen’s family requests that love offerings be sent on her behalf to Trillium House.