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Helen Nazzise is the neighbor we all wish we had – the kind of incredible resident that makes Sandy a great place to live. She first moved to Utah from Nebraska in 1960, after falling in love with the Wasatch Mountains, and has lived in the same house in Sandy since 1972. She is a constant source of light and service in her neighborhood and community.
In Nebraska, Helen and her family farmed 800 acres of land, milking 32 cows by hand every day. She and her husband brought this hard working spirit with them when they moved to Utah decades ago. Her children attended Jordan, Hillcrest, and Granite High Schools. Helen even completed her high school education and graduated the same year as her daughter Marty from Granite High School.
Helen just celebrated her 93rd birthday and has the youthful spirit of someone decades her junior. She still wakes up at 5am everyday and neighbors see her walking her dog Rocky twice a day for a half mile around the neighborhood. Married for 68 years, Helen has 4 kids, 26 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, and now 7 great-great-grandchildren!
Helen loves to can and jar produce each year, often with the help of her family. Her most canned items include tomatoes, peaches, green beans, and plums. This year alone, she canned 400 quarts of tomatoes!
In addition to canning, Helen’s homemade pies are legendary and, according to her neighbors, it’s a great honor to receive one. While she has a mixer, she still makes her pie crusts completely by hand. She uses these talents to help her family and community - when her great-granddaughter needed to fundraise for a class, Helen helped make dozens of pies by hand for her to sell. Whenever anyone drops by for a visit, Helen can have a meal ready or send you off with a treat. We were lucky enough to receive a homemade pie and jar of spaghetti sauce from her after our interview and we can report they are the best we’ve ever had! She has also served extensively in the Catholic Food Kitchen and her local parish. She is always working hard to serve those in her neighborhood, her family, and her church community.
She makes huge holiday meals for her family and thoughtful Christmas boxes for each person in her family filled with homemade candy, bread, and spaghetti sauce. Helen also makes quilts for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren each year – she made 32 in one year! Her favorite Christmas traditions include making candy, bread and pies for others and attending midnight mass and hosting her whole family for dinner prior to the service.
As for what she likes best about Sandy, Helen says our great parks and watching the July 4th fireworks from the hill on 1300 E and 9400 S.
At 93 years old, Helen has lived through many major milestones in American history and is a treasure of knowledge about those events. When asked for her advice to a long and happy life, Helen said “Live with your faith, work hard, and try to be a good person. Serve other people.”
We are grateful to have wonderful people in Sandy like Helen, who spend their time serving and loving others, making our community such an exceptional place!