Helen A. Tomak

Died June 26, 2017


Helen Antoinette Tomak, 93, of Huntington Woods died June 26, 2017, at 7:05 p.m. at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak surrounded by loving family.

Helen was born in Detroit on Feb. 12, 1924, to Caroline and Anthony Slabuka. She lived her early childhood in Hamtramck mostly in the care of her maternal grandmother, who owned a combination rooming house and grocery store on Elmwood Street. When she was 7 she moved with her mother and new husband John Kreciesz to a farm near Smiths Creek. As a teenager she had a job at Kresge’s in Port Huron where her pretty face and bright personality caught the attention of store executives who wanted to send her to New York to learn the art of selling cosmetics; but her mother wouldn’t hear of such an ambitious plan for her 17-year-old daughter, and so she didn’t go. Her spirit of adventure was not dampened, though, as evidenced by her enrollment in flying school. She actually flew an open cockpit plane with her flight instructor and, as she told it, she was learning how to land when her mother found out and put an end to her flying lessons.

As a young woman Helen worked as a secretary at the Fort Wayne Army Post in Detroit. In 1945 she married Stanley Tomak and they had two children, Bob, who was born in 1947, and Joanne in 1949. In 1954 the family moved from Columbus Township to Standish, where they built the Standish Motel and ran it as a successful business enterprise for the next 30 years. Stanley died in 1991. Helen’s life was one of emotion and boundless love. She loved people of all shapes, sizes and dispositions. She had many friends, including friends in high places, yet she wouldn’t hesitate to stop and listen to a down-and-out panhandler on the street tell her his life story. She was a natural-born listener and caregiver. Helen took especially great pleasure from the company of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and she was “Aunty Helen” to many, many relatives and non-relatives alike.

She is survived by her son and daughter, Robert (Diana) Tomak and Joanne Naiman; her sisters, Arlene Johnson and Michele (Gerry) Schroeder; and by her grandchildren, Kelly (Mark) Spencer, Robert Naiman and Leslie Naiman, Alison (John) Duffy and Paige Tomak; as well as great-grandchildren, Paxton and Jack Spencer, Nicole Naiman and Jordan Naiman.

There will be a viewing and gathering of family and friends Friday, July 7, 2017, from 3-6 p.m. at the Wm. Sullivan and Son Funeral Home, 705 W. 11 Mile Rd. (four blocks east of Woodward), Royal Oak, MI 48067. Share your memories at www.sullivanfuneraldirectors.com.


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