Helen Mildred DeCostanza (nee Ward), born December 5, 1922 in Franklin NY, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully on December 5, 2007. While Helen grew up on a dairy farm in upstate NY, her dream was to live in New York City, which she realized in her early 20s working as a fashion illustrator for a trade magazine. She met her first husband, James Charles Camparo, at Roseland in NYC, and they were married in 1948. Moving to Newark, NJ with her new husband, Helen taught art and eventually worked as a department head in the Newark Public Library. Helen and James had two children: Kathyrn Ann (currently completing her Ed.D. degree in Counseling Psychology and engaged to be wed to Dr. Peter Mitchell in November 2008) and James Charles Jr. (Ph.D. in Physics, a Senior Scientist at The Aerospace Corp. and married to Dr. Lori Camparo). After her children were grown, and following the death of her first husband James in 1987, Helen married her second husband, Joseph DeCostanza on July 5, 1991. Helen and Joe moved to Torrance CA to enjoy the milder weather and be closer to her son, James, and daughter-in-law, Lori. Though a widow for a second time in 2002, Helen remained a vibrant member of her community. No one who met her could forget her infectious laugh and wonderful sense of the world's humor. Besides being a voracious reader, Helen bowled every Monday on a bowling league, was a season-ticket holder at the Ahmanson Theater, traveled throughout Europe, Mexico, Asia, and Hawaii, and loved going dancing or to the movies with friends or her son and daughter-in-law. Most of all, Helen was a loving wife, mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother, as well as a fiercely loyal friend. She was immensely proud and supportive of her family, and her passing has left a large hole in all those who knew and loved her. She is survived by her daughter Kathyrn and son James, as well as her grandchildren Tracey (28), currently completing a doctoral degree in Chiropractic; Robyn (27), currently completing a Juris Doctoral degree in Law; Stayce (24), a dancer with the Kansas City Ballet Company; and Russell (23) currently completing his B.A. degree in Criminal Justice. Services will be held at White and Day Mortuary, 901 Torrance Blvd. in Redondo Beach on Monday, December 10 at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the American Heart Association.

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  1. I can’t believe Helen is gone…I will miss her SO much! We shared so many years of memories. She was my very best friend, and will be, always. You all know that I share your loss… Janis

  2. Please accept our condolences and know that we are thinking of you all and remembering Helen today. I will always remember her enthusiasm for life and spirit of adventure. What a role model!

  3. We will miss Helen and are so glad we got to visit with her in NJ recently. Our sympathy to all the family. We know that she has left many wonderful memories with all of you.

  4. Please accept our condolences on the loss of Helen. As a child, I always looked forward Helen’s visits. She has always been a role model and made sure she lived life to its fullest.

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