OBITUARY: Helen’s Story is One of Strength, Perseverance, Love and Adventure
By Space Coast Daily // December 23, 2021
settled in Titusville 30 years ago
Born in Shanghai, China, Helen and her family were refugees fleeing communism in Russia
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Helen was born on April 2, 1946, and passed away peacefully the morning of Dec. 11 at Reflections Hospice of St. Francis in Titusville at the age of 75.
Helen’s story is one of strength, perseverance, love and adventure. Her path led her to live all over the world before ultimately settling here in Titusville for the last 30 years or so.
If you have ever seen the Disney movie Anastasia, this would be the modern-day happy ending where she goes on to build a beautiful life in America, raises a strong family that lives on and carries the family story.
Born in Shanghai, China, Helen and her family were refugees fleeing communism in Russia.
Helen’s father, Captain Anatoly Oswald Pikiel, also known as Prince A.O., left behind a kingdom and royal lineage in Russia in pursuit of freedom from communistic rule.
The family’s version of the story is one of great bravery. As the captain of a Russian navy ship he turned the vessel around and made it to China before destroying the ship to flee the communistic government and attempt to prevent them from furthering their efforts into China.
Captain A.O. led his wife, Natalie Pikiel, first to China where Helen was born, then when communism reached and expanded into China they continued on – traveling various places throughout Europe, Germany and many places in between before Helen and her family landed in Spain for a length of time.
It was there as a child in grade school that Helen fell in love with Latin culture – from the music to the architecture, food and sense of community. She carried this love for Latin culture on throughout her life and passed it on to her children and grandchildren.
Helen and her family arrived in the United States, settling in San Francisco while Helen continued to pursue her studies. After graduating from college, she married and was once again traveling.
This time it was not with the military; she traveled with her husband on the back of a motorcycle from California to Mexico, spent time over the years in Colombia with her young children in tow while her late husband taught at Colombia University.
After years of traveling, she landed in Miami Dade in the 1980s where she worked as a school social worker. It was here that her calling led her to fight for Cuban refugees during the Mariel boatlift in Miami’s Krome camp, and she continued to fight for those who could not fight for themselves throughout her life.
Ultimately, she settled in Brevard County where she went on to be a teacher, Russian translator, addiction counselor, and finally a social worker for the Brevard County School board for more than 30 years. Visiting homes and making sure children and families had safe living conditions was one of her many duties.
Real estate was also always a passion for Helen as she invested in and sold close to 40 properties over her lifetime.
Helen was well traveled and a regal cultured woman who spoke fluent Russian, Spanish and English. She loved to take cruises and took countless trips on the sea. Her favorite place to visit was Cartagena, Columbia, in South America.
A strong and wise matriarch who was loved by many, Helen was always a home for those who had no one, and her legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of every life that she touched.
Helen is survived by her daughter Kim, grandchildren Vincent, Karina, Arin and Dillon, and great grandchild Xander.
Helen will be laid to rest at Brevard Memorial Funeral Home and Gardens. If you’d like to more info on how you can celebrate Helen’s life or send regards to the family, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org