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Obituary: Helen Balsam Koles

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1917 ~ 2003

Helen Balsam Koles passed away on September 14, 2003, in Salt Lake City.

Born in the Bronx, New York, on August 21, 1917, to Carl and Bessie Balsam. Helen resided and worked in Philadelphia for many years. She married and had two children: her daughter Susan, who at age 16, preceded her mother in death and her son Mitchell. Helen later divorced and worked in the business office of a toy company for many years. After retirement, she moved to Salt Lake City to be closer to her family and especially her grandsons.

Helen had the best traits of a Jewish mother. She was famous among her son's friends as a hilarious teller of jokes and a wonderful baker and cook. One of her greatest joys was bringing baked goods into work for all her colleagues and friends. She never gossiped but kept everyone around her (including the clerks and managers at Harmon's in Sugar House) in stitches by teaching them Yiddish curses, the meanings of which were completely lost in the English translation. ("May you go like an onion with your head in the ground!") "The Human Encyclopedia," Helen began to do the New York Times crossword puzzle at the age of 10, and she was never at a loss for words. She read two or three mystery novels a week and was never without her knitting. Helen was a person who faced hardship with strength and dignity. Bubbe was a character and we loved her despite her never ceasing to wonder why you couldn't get a decent piece of bread in Salt Lake City.

Helen is survived by her son Mitchell Koles, her former daughter-in-law Susan Koles, her grandsons Asher and Eli Koles, all of Salt Lake City, and her sisters Elaine Rothenberg (Denver, CO), and Phyllis Cerel (Las Vegas, NV).

Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2003, 3:00 p.m. at the Evans & Early Mortuary Chapel, 574 E. 100 So. Directors: Evans & Early Mortuary a Dignity Memorial