Cover photo for Helen Shima's Obituary
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Helen Shima

d. June 2, 2019

Helen Shima

March 3, 1924 - June 2, 2019


Helen (née Hancher) Merchant Shima, born a coal miner’s daughter to George Hancher and Kaska (Katherine) Kuca at the family farm on Bunker Hill in Central City, PA on March 3, 1924, passed away on June 2, 2019 in Johnstown, PA; she was 95.


One of 13 siblings, she is survived by her children: Larry; Dan and wife Emily; Pat and his wife Jo Ellen; and Susan; and by brothers, Paul, New Port Richey, Fla.; Pete, Margate, Fla.; and Frank Hancher, Columbia Station, Ohio; and sisters, Sally Chasar, Rootstown, Ohio; and Sonia Flanigan, Laurel, Md.


Admired for her remarkable work ethic, Helen retired at age 84 from Rizzo’s Restaurant, where she was recognized as “Simply the Best” area bartender by The Tribune-Democrat. Helen returned to Central City in 1958 following the untimely death of her first husband, Lawrence A. Merchant in Baltimore, MD. She remarried and was preceded in death by her second husband, Joseph Shima.


Until only very recently she lived at her home in Central City, where for over sixty years she was a regular at her nearby church. She loved her granddaughter, Aimée N. Drummey, Brooklyn, NY., and cherished summer visits by Aimée, her husband, “JP,” and their children Teddy, Jack, and Finn. She adored and doted on her two cats, Fraser and Simon.


With her daughter, Susan K. Merchant, at her bedside, she died early Sunday morning at the Arbutus Park Retirement Community. At her request, no services will be held.


She will be greatly missed.

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