Helen Cernik
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Obituary of Helen Cernik

Captain of her soul to the very end, Helen C. Cernik of East Glenville (95) passed gently to the eternal light on March 7, 2018.  Born in NYC to Greek immigrants, Christos and Constance (Birbilis) Capelianis, Helen was raised in Lowell, MA and Schenectady New York surrounded by an extended Greek-American family.

 

Feisty from the beginning, Helen left her mark on all she encountered.  She and her beloved Karl (1920-1972) adopted and raised three children, providing them with a loving home,  With Karl’s early passing, the burden fell upon Helen to chart a course to adulthood for them, while making the personal and extraordinary sacrifices to ensure that they each had the opportunity to engage their dreams.  Just as she strove for excellence in her own personal and professional endeavors – she so encouraged not only her own children – but their children as well.  Adeptly bilingual, she passed her strength and Greek wisdom (along with a few colorful phrases and her recipe for avgolemeno) to her loving grandchildren.

 

A graduate of Nott Terrace High School in Schenectady and Mildred Elly College, Helen left a professional imprint as well.   After World War II, she became a draftsperson at General Electric in Schenectady.  Later, she was involved in innovative behavioral research at Union College in Schenectady, and while in her 50s, she set out to establish her own desktop publishing company – Lexi Communications – which she ran well into her 80s.  For Helen, there was no such thing as a glass ceiling. She took a hammer to it, practicing what she preached:  “You can be anything you set your mind to.”   

 

Helen was congregant of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Schenectady and a long-time member of the Ladies Philoptochos Society.  She also was an auxiliary member of the Electric City Riders Motorcycle Club of Princetown, NY.  An avid fan of the New York Yankees – she loved the “Bronx Zoo” of the 1970s, but she never did warm up to A-Rod.  

 

Helen was predeceased by her loving husband, Karl and siblings, George Capelianis and Julia Cavano.  Survivors include children, Christopher Cernik, Jeffrey (Darlene) Cernik and Linda (Bryan) King; grandchildren, Amanda, Alexander and James Cernik, Jason, Karly and Laura Cernik, Brendan King, Alecia (Gregory) Romanov; and beloved sister, Xanthipe (“Aunt Betty”) Capelianis.

 

Private services for the family will be held at St. George Greek Orthodox Church on Monday, March 12th,   followed by interment at Parkview Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, donations in Helen’s name may be made to the American Cancer Society.  

 

Online condolences may be made at glenvillefuneralhome.com

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