Helen O. Lalak
November 26,1946 - November 19,2021
The exceptional life of Helen O. Lalak, 74, a resident of Bridgewater, CT sadly ended at the Regional Hospice & Palliative Care Center on November 19, 2021, after a prolonged battle with a rare neurodegenerative disease which she fought for years with tenacity, grace, and courage.
Helen was born in Danbury, CT on November 26, 1946, to the late Frank Joseph Grgach, Sr. and Helen Mietelski Grgach. Helen attended Danbury schools, obtained her master’s degree from Western CT State College and was a longtime teacher at Brookfield High School where she primarily taught Biology and AP Anatomy & Physiology. Helen was fascinated with the inner workings of the body and passionate about seeking answers to “Why?” questions involving human organs and systems. Her passion was infectious and many of her AP students went on to work in the medical field, often sending her notes years later thanking her for inspiring them.
Helen will be remembered as a kind and compassionate person who volunteered with the American Red Cross, taught religious education, was an active member of the Bridgewater Fire Department’s Women’s Auxiliary and cried at every ASPCA commercial she saw. Although she would argue the skin is the largest organ in the human body, her family and friends are certain that Helen’s was her heart. Helen will also be remembered as someone who lived life to the fullest; whether downhill skiing in the northeast or out west, scuba diving in Bonaire, Aruba, Tobago, or the Bahamas or cycling the Road to Hana on Maui, her adventurous spirit was inspiring to all who knew her.
In addition to being a devoted teacher, volunteer and adventurer, the roles that gave Helen the greatest joy and meaning in life were those of loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. Family was the singular most important thing to Helen and friends were family.
Helen was predeceased by her first husband, John Osswalt, Jr., in 1979 after ten years of marriage and by her fellow adventurer and second husband of 39 years, George K. Lalak. Helen is survived by, and will be greatly missed by, her daughter, Lori-Ann Lytle, her grandson Alexander Lytle, a sister Rosemary Flinn, a brother Frank Grgach, Jr. and his wife Nancy, her devoted caretaker and adopted family member Sandra Gilgeous as well as several nieces and nephews.
Helen’s brain was donated to Yale Medical and the Mayo Clinic in the hopes that it will help lead researchers to potential treatments for Atypical Parkinson’s diseases. The family wishes to sincerely thank Regional Hospice, Danbury Memorial and Yale Autopsy Services for helping to make this donation possible. A Celebration of life gathering will be held on Saturday November 27, 2021, from 11 AM to 1 p.m. with a Celebration of life service to begin at 12:30 p.m. at the Danbury Memorial Funeral Home, 117 South St., Danbury, CT. The family is requesting masks be worn during the celebration of life. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in Helen’s memory to the Regional Hospice Center at www. regionalhospicect.org.