Cover photo for Helen (Rocharz)  Killian's Obituary
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1922 Helen 2015

Helen (Rocharz) Killian

October 28, 1922 — May 7, 2015

Helen (Rocharz ) Killian , 92 yrs old, died in Provincetown on May, 7 2015.

Born on October 28, 1922 in Taunton she moved to Provincetown in 2011 to be closer to her grandson Stephen Desroches and his husband Peter Donnelly. Helen was the daughter of the late Stanislaw and Apolonia (Strycharz) Rocharz, Polish immigrants who eventually settled in Taunton to work in the citys textile mills. She was a 1940 graduate of Taunton High School. She married the late Stanley Killian in 1947 and had two daughters, Carol Ann Killian Desroches and Gail Mary Killian. Sadly, both her daughters pre-deceased her; Gail dying of Hodgkins disease in 1988 and Carol of breast cancer in 1990. Her daughter Gail had Down syndrome. When she was born in 1953 most every doctor told Helen and Stanley to place her in an institution, adding dire warnings that Gail would never walk, never talk and most likely not live more than a few years. Ignoring the doctors, they took Gail home. She lived to be 35, learned to read and write, had a job, competed in the Special Olympics and was a joy to be around to everyone who knew her. Helen and her husband became ardent voices for the rights of people with disabilities and their Taunton home became a de facto community center for local families with a loved one with special needs. Helen also worked with people with special needs at Paul A. Dever State School for 18 years before retiring in 1981. She lived on Third Avenue in Whittenton for 89 years before moving to Provincetown. She enjoyed polka music and dancing, cooking, and crocheting.

She was a communicant of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church.

In addition to Stephen and Peter she is survived by a granddaughter, Dr. Lisa Desroches Herbert and her husband Joseph, and two great grandsons Jacob and Jackson, of Wadsworth, Ohio; a niece Dr. Donna Killian Duffy and her husband John of Burlington, Vermont; a nephew Eugene Killian and wife Elaine of Meredith, New Hampshire, as well as many grand and great grand nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by a brother John Rocharz and a nephew John Rocharz, Jr. Donations may be made in her memory to PRIDE, Inc., a Taunton non-profit that serves people with disabilities and is where her daughter Gail worked. PRIDE, Inc. 3 Maple Street, Taunton, MA 02780. 508-824-7134.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a funeral from the Sowiecki Funeral Home, 69 West Britannia Street, Taunton on Wednesday May 13, 2015 at 8:30 AM followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in Holy Rosary Church at 10 AM. Interment in St. Joseph Cemetery, Taunton.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen (Rocharz) Killian, please visit our flower store.


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