Cover photo for Helen Rose Hafner's Obituary
Helen Rose Hafner Profile Photo
1925 Helen 2021

Helen Rose Hafner

June 10, 1925 — August 12, 2021

Helen left to be with the Lord August 12, at age 96, after a long illness. She was born June 10, 1925 in Chiliwack, British Columbia, to George and Marie (DeMoor) Caus. After finishing high school, she went on to become a registered nurse after graduating from St. Paul's Nursing School in Vancouver, B.C.
Helen then came to the United States and worked at St. Joseph's Hospital in Bellingham, Washington. While there, she met Sister Gonzaga Groush, a nurse anesthetist who encouraged Helen to specialize in the same field, which she did after graduating from Mercy Hospital in Chicago. She eventually became a U.S. citizen.
In the meantime, Sister Gonzaga had come to Longview to work with the other nuns who were nurses at St. John (then St. John's) Hospital. When there was an opening for another nurse anesthetist, she wrote to Helen and urged her to apply. She was promptly hired in 1954. At that time there were no (perhaps one?) doctors of anesthesia in the area, so it was up to the nurse anesthetists to administer anesthesia before surgeries.
A compassionate woman, Helen would gently talk to children about to have surgery while reassuring them that all would go well, and they had nothing to fear. She often worked with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Paul G. Hafner. They fell in love and were married in 1964. Helen worked a few more years after her retirement. During nearly 50 years of marriage, the couple enjoyed world travel, growing flowers and vegetables, and graciously entertaining dinner guests with their gourmet cooking, select wines, and home-made desserts. Paul died in 2011.
After her retirement, Helen remained close to the nuns at St. John and told them, "You sisters are my family." She never missed their birthdays and feast days and frequently invited them to dinner. Old friends and the remaining Sisters in the community remember Helen as being gracious, warm, and genuine, as well as generous and giving of herself. (A neighbor said, "She was even gracious to our dog.") Helen was a long- time member of the Longview Century Club where she was the unofficial historian, the Longview Country Club, and the Women's Auxiliary of the Cowlitz Medical Society. She was one of the first board members of Community Home and Health and Hospice.
Helen's life was centered on her Catholic faith and husband Paul. She never missed attending Mass and would diligently say the Rosary. Though retired, she remained a nurse to the end. When Paul's health was failing during his last years, she refused to hire any help and attended him full time until his death.
She is survived by nephew Michael Duclos of Pinawa, Manitoba, and stepdaughter Ellen Zeiss of Toronto, Ontario. Memorial donations may be made to Community Home Health and Hospice or Youth and Family Link.
Viewing will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Steele Chapel at Longview Memorial Park. There will be a Rosary at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Rose Catholic Church followed by a funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Internment will Follow.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Friday, August 27, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Pacific time)

Viewing is planned from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at Steele Chapel. A Rosary will be held from 10 a.m. to service time Friday. Interment will take place at Longview Memorial Park at 11 a.m. Friday.

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