Carmella Enrica Helbling, 89, a longtime Moscow resident, passed away Friday, May 8, 2020, at Aspen Park of Cascadia in Moscow. She had suffered a stroke in late March.
She was born Sept. 3, 1930, to Julius and Anna Cantalini, in Spokane.
Carmella attended Marycliff High School. She met the love of her life, Bill Helbling, of Moscow, under the basketball hoop at a Gonzaga High School dance. They were married June 28, 1952, at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, in Spokane. She and Bill lived in Genesee, where Bill managed the local branch of Helbling Brothers’ Farm Equipment. They moved back to Moscow in 1961. They celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary shortly before his death in 2016.
Carmella was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She had a wonderful sense of humor, a generous spirit and a playful mischievousness. She and Bill spent several years coping with the complications of cystinosis, a hereditary kidney disease that ultimately took the lives of five of their 10 children. They were avid supporters of their children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events and loyal fans of the Moscow Bears, Idaho Vandals, Gonzaga Bulldogs and Seattle Mariners.
While taking care of her own family, Carmella also spent many years helping care for others and volunteering for local organizations. She was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and the Catholic Women’s League in both Genesee and Moscow. She managed the gift shop at Gritman Medical Center for many years and was an active member of the Gritman Auxillary. She supported the advancement of women’s causes through Vandal Stride for Gold and Moscow’s CC Chapter of P.E.O., a women’s philanthropic organization.
She is survived by five children, Mike Helbling, of Moscow, Barbara (Roger) Brincken, of Spokane Valley, Wash., Jeff (Carla) Helbling, of Moscow, Bill (Rose) Helbling, of Moscow, and Karen (Dave) Croasdell, of Reno, Nev.; 13 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and sister Rose Cantalini, of Brackendale, British Columbia.
Carmella was preceded in death by her husband, Bill; parents Anna and Julius; brother Sam Cantalini; sister Mary Ellen Cantalini; children David, Steve, John, Mary Ellen and Brian; and great-grandson Isaac Brincken.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to all of the private in-home caregivers who helped Carmella stay in her home for the last years. Their love, care and kindness are greatly appreciated. The family’s gratitude is also extended to the caregivers at Aspen Park of Cascadia for their loving care during her short stay there.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the burial was a private graveside service in Moscow. A rosary, funeral Mass, public memorial and celebration of life will be held later this summer in her honor.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Tina’s Hope for a Cure (Cystinosis Foundation), P.O. Box 754, Clarkston, WA 99403, or Isaac’s Bookshelf, 9116 E. Sprague Ave. No. 722, Spokane Valley, WA 99206, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Online condolences may be left at www.shortsfuneralchapel.net.