Thurtell and Related Families
Thurtell and Related Families

Notes for Helena SERAFINSKA

Helena Kasner spoke, read, and wrote Polish as her primary language but also learned English both to speak and to read and write. Susan Thurtell Miller recalls her mother, Janet Kasner Thurtell saying that Helena Kasner was very proud of becoming a U.S. citizen and that she studied harder to become a citizen than she ever studied for anything else in her life. She lived for many years at 19663 Shields Street, Detroit, Michigan. She and her husband had lived in Detroit most or all of the time since at least 1914 as far as Susan Thurtell Miller recalls.

About a year or so before her death, Helena Serafinska Kasner moved in with her son and daughter-in-law, Henry and Beth Kasner, 24217 Karen Street, Warren, Michigan. She had been having problems for some years where she would have episodes of confusion and paranoia and think others were stealing from her or trying to break into her house - this was said to be caused due to hardening of the arteries to her brain as explained to Susan Thurtell Miller at the time. She was on a visit to her daughter and son-in-law, Ann and Rafael Cortes, in Washington, DC, when she died rather suddenly probably due to a heart attack as far as Susan Thurtell Miller recalls.

Some years after the death of Anthony Kasner, Helena married Arthur Reclaw, and they honeymooned in Niagara Falls. Susan Thurtell Miller has a picture of Helena marked "Mama - on honeymoon - Niagara Falls" and another picture marked "Mama and Arthur Reclaw." Janet Kasner Thurtell had told Susan Thurtell Miller that Helena's marriage to Arthur Reclaw did not last very long because his children caused them problems. They were divorced and Helena was using her prior name of Kasner by the early 1950's - as early as Susan could recall. A letter from Beth Kasner from January 2000 recalled that Helena Kasner and Arthur Reclaw lived at 8181 Molena, Detroit, Michigan. Helena Reclaw got a divorce at the end of 1952 and changed her name back to Kasner.

Her death certificate shows her name as Helen Kasner and is on file in Washington, DC, Department of Public Health file number 69-7909. It confirms she died October 9, 1969, at 7:00 p.m. at Georgetown University Hospital, 3800 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007. It shows she was a widowed female Caucasian born November 23, 1893, in Poland. It lists her residence as 5420 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, the same address as the informant, her daughter Mrs. Ann Cortes. The death certificate shows she was 75, with her usual occupation a housewife at home, and that she was never in the U.S. Armed Forces. It showes she was a citizen of the United States, and that her parents were Karl Serafinski and Teresa Nosek. Her Social Security number is shown as 369-20-2009, and the cause of death is shown as cardiac arrest with immediate death due to CVA - ?? (illegible word morano???) for five weeks. The physician, N. E. Gwozdz, M. D., 1714 N Street, NW, Washington, DC, shows he attended her from October 3, 1969, to October 9, 1969. The funeral home was Joseph Gawler's Sons, Inc., 5130 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20010, with the undertaker Kenneth Jorgensen signing the death certificate. It shows she was buried October 13, 1969, at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan.

Additions and corrections are always appreciated!

Please contact
Susan T. Miller
1411 West Childs Street
Wheaton, Illinois  60187-4601

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