Helen Salerni, a long time resident of Coronado, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 8, 2020. Helen would have been 98 years old next month.
She was raised in South Carolina on a farm with her 12 brothers and sisters. Her love of family was deeply rooted in her humble beginnings.
In her early 20s, she was a civil servant in aircraft manufacturing and aspired to becoming a pilot. At age 24, she married Paul Salerni, her husband of 59 years who preceded her in death in 2005. His Navy career took them from coast to coast with the Special Warfare community.
Paul and Helen were the proud parents of Paul Larry Salerni and Nancy (Salerni) Ratcliffe. After their children were grown, Helen went back to Civil Service work as a Pay Clerk at the Naval Training Center in San Diego. Upon retirement, she committed her life to helping to raise her eight grandchildren. Affectionally known as “Granny,” she spent every day caring for them by walking them to preschool and assisting the children with their chores and homework. She always took the time to play games of Chinese checkers, Candyland, Guess Who and anything that was their hearts’ desire. On a weekly basis, she took grandchildren to Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Disneyland, dancing lessons, and all their other after school activities. She was truly devoted to spending quality time with them. Baking was her speciality and she loved baking cakes, pies, candy, and cookies to the Navy Commissary staff, the Dispensary crew, the gas station attendants, and almost anyone who appreciated a favorite treat. When the grandchildren were older, she became president of the the Coronado Bridge Club, where she was a master bridge player. She was forever baking for the Bridge Club, too.
Helen led a selfless life in her service to others. She experienced major mid-life health challenges, but those challenges never damped her commitment to helping others or her positive spirit. Helen was a member of the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. A private memorial service will be held for her in December. Donations to Season’s Hospice in her name would be greatly appreciated.