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Helen Ottwell Binns

August 16, 1958 ~ September 9, 2023 (age 65) 65 Years Old

Helen Binns Obituary

Helen Ottwell Binns

Aug. 16, 1958 – Sept. 9, 2023

It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of Helen Binns. Helen is predeceased by her mother Elaine Binns. She is survived by her father Bernard Binns, her sons Nicholas Schesnuk & Grant Sharp (Misha), her sister Kathy (Michael), her brother Patrick (Colleen), as well as three nieces and five grandchildren. Helen also leaves behind many friends in British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta, and New Zealand.

Helen was born in London, England. Her family immigrated to Canada in 1967 after living in various locations in England and spending two years in Uganda. Growing up in Winnipeg, Helen played competitive badminton at the Winnipeg Winter Club. She was ranked second in Canada in singles in her final junior year. Helen continued playing badminton competitively while pursuing her post-secondary studies at McGill University in Montreal. She represented Canada in tournaments held in the USA and Sweden.

Helen’s artistic skills developed early. Inspired by her mother, she studied art and painting techniques at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. After settling on watercolors and pastels, Helen produced a plethora of pieces that can be seen on the walls of homes in Nanaimo and throughout Canada. Helen inspired many others to draw and paint; she shared her technical skills with pleasure. Helen had a special connection with drawing mythical dragons and flowers from the family's gardens.

Helen's career combined her two passions, badminton and art. Helen organized recreational programs and coached badminton at community centers in Alberta and British Columbia. When not coaching Helen worked at various art galleries, most recently at the Yellow Bird Arts Gallery. She also taught watercolor classes for Nanaimo Parks and Recreation.

Helen was an avid gardener who enjoyed growing vegetables and making preserves. She supplied the family with homemade marmalade, blackberry jam, and apple jelly made with fruit she picked in the Nanoose Bay area.

Helen will be missed by the many people she touched throughout her life’s journey. Her legacy lives on through her artwork and our memories of experiences shared.

Many thanks to the palliative care staff at the Nanaimo District General Hospital as well as Dr. Egan, Dr. Love and Dr. McDonald for their excellent care and compassion for Helen in her last days. A special thank you to the community support team of occupational therapists, speech therapists, respiratory specialists, dietitians, and home support who enabled Helen to stay at home for as long as possible.

A celebration of life for Helen will be on Sept. 25, 2023 at the Yates Funeral Home in Parksville. If friends wish, in lieu of flowers, a donation in memory of Helen may be made to a charity of one’s choice.


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Celebration of Life
September 25, 2023

2:00 PM
Yates Reception
1000 Allsbrook Road
Parksville, British Columbia V9P 2A9


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