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Helen Oxley (Dewar) Burden


Helen Oxley (Dewar) Burden

It is with heavy hearts,  that we announce the passing of our mother, Helen Burden, who was born on January 4th, 1929 to William L. and Bessie C. (Smith) Dewar. Helen passed peacefully in her sleep on January 5th, 2021. She was the wife of the late Dr. R. A. Burden, the mother of Bill (Sue), Kent (Sharon), David (Charlene) and Tim (Marie) and Nana to Katherine, Bradley, Jane, Jill, Nicholas, Matthew, Emily, Sarah, and Jennifer and six Great Grandchildren. She was the third of four daughters and the last of her generation.

Helen and Arnold were married on August 4th, 1948 and loved one another for 70 years. It was during those years that Helen developed a keen interest in crafts. She would do ceramics and watercolours by the hour and was a partner in Cumberland Crafts, which was located at the Springhill Miner's Museum. She was an avid reader.

To say that Mom was the wife of Dr. Burden would be to damn with faint praise. She was Dad’s partner in everything. She was the one who was always home for us during Dad’s 14-16 hour work days. She helped with the homework, cooked all the meals, did the washing and cleaning like most of the women of her generation. In addition to raising four active boys and managing a large household, for many years she managed the Doctor’s practice from home; taking "calls" and messages and arranging them so that Dad could make all the ‘house calls’, call in prescriptions and maybe even get a timely ‘bite to eat’ - all well before the invention of instant messaging and cell phones. 

Helen was badly burned as a very young child and had to live over 100 miles from her family for over a year while undergoing several surgeries which allowed her to learn to walk. She fondly remembered being re-introduced to Dr. Acker by Dad at a Medical Fraternity ball. Dr. Acker had been one of Mom’s doctors at the early IWK and he was thrilled (and very surprised) to note that Mom was not only able to walk but to dance!

This determination was typical of Helen’s life. She was an early activist for Women’s rights, was active in both local and provincial politics and was very proud of her work on a local school board. She was a wonderful role model for her granddaughters. 

The family wishes to thank Kathy, Eleanor, the staff of Centennial Villa, the staff at All Saints Springhill Hospital and most recently, the wonderful and caring people at Northwood (Bedford Campus) who all combined to tenderly make her final days warm and comfortable.

Arrangements are under the care and direction of A. H. Brown Funeral Home, 5 McFarlane Street, Springhill, (902 597 2361). With respect for the health of our friends, there will be no visitation or formal service. The family will hold a celebration of Mom’s life in due course.

Donations to All Saints Springhill Hospital Auxiliary, Northwood Ivany Place of  Bedford NS, any local food bank or to a charity of choice would be wonderful.

Sharing of memories and condolences may be sent to the family by visiting Helen's online memorial at or through the A H Brown Funeral Home Facebook Page.

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No visitation or formal funeral service

Burial Date
At a later date

Requested Charity
All Saints Springhill Hospital Auxiliary, Northwood Ivany Place, local food bank, charity of choice