Ishmael, Helen Tejverti

Helen Tejverti Ishmael  

September 9, 1940 – June 10, 2024


Our hearts are broken as we announce the passing of our beloved Helen Tejverti Ishmael (née Chand) of Brampton, Ontario, on Monday, June 10, 2024, at the age of 83. She was born in Georgetown, Guyana, to Harry A. Chand and her mother, Stella O. Balgobin, who predeceased her. She will be dearly missed by her beloved husband and “sweetheart” John “Ish” Ishmael, her one true companion. He cared for Helen, laughed with her, teased her, and loved her with all of his soul.


Helen is survived by her four daughters, Shalesa Charron, Azaleta Ishmael-Newry (partner Ian Marcus Bethel), Scheherazade Johnson (Norman) and Alizan Dudenas (Chris). She was predeceased by her son, Altaf and her son-in-law, Denis Charron.


A very special place in her heart were her siblings – her dearest sister Marlene O’Brien (Basil) and brother Raymond Chand (Jane), including her cousin, who was like a brother to her, Stephen P. B. Singh (Sadie). She loved her weekend calls with Marlene and Ray. If one of them called while she was on the phone with another family member, her siblings got preference. Her family still remembers her saying, “Uncle Ray is calling, I’ll call you back!” or “It’s Auntie Marlene calling, I’ll call you back!” 😃


Affectionately known as “G’ma” by her grandchildren and great-grandson – they were the crown jewels of her family: Leiana Charron (Mike Munro); Kira Charron (Gabriel Reis), and Devita Charron; Ameera and Anjali Ishmael-Newry, Ryan Johnson (partner Amie Dove) and Owen Johnson; and Alexander and Nic Dudenas. And best of all, Helen had the great pleasure to meet and hold her first great-grandchild, André Reis.


She made each of her children, sons-in-law Norm and Chris, former son-in-law Alain Torchon-Newry, the late Denis Charron, her grandchildren, and their significant others feel like they were the best of the best. They shared many jokes and laughs—no topic was off limits.


Helen’s impact on her family was profound. Although Helen’s children and grandchildren are spread across Canada and beyond, she was a daily influence in their lives. Her wit and humor were captured in her ‘snaps’, and she constantly made everyone laugh out loud as she proved time and time again that she was the master of this platform.


Helen was always a pleasure to speak to on the phone. Hearing her melodious voice, infectious laugh, or even gentle scolding always carried the undercurrent of love. Her voice was an anchor that could make anyone leave their world behind for a few moments and bask in that love.


Music was another great love for Helen, which she passed on to each of her children and grandchildren. A favorite memory was the house shaking, Calypso music blasting the monotony of Saturday morning chores away. Singing, dancing, cleaning, laughing, and cooking were the ways of the house.


Nieces and nephews who will miss her include Dr. Krishna (Philippa) O’Brien and Tariq (Cherran) O’Brien and their children; and David Chand, Laura (Danny) Chand and Kevin Chand (Lindsey) and their children.


Other loved family members include Fazia, the Balgobins, Lachmansinghs, Insanallys, Shakoors (godson Roshan), Khans, and their extended families. There are too many other significant people to mention, but know she loved you.


Helen moved through her life with grace. She was famous for her shoe collection and assigned her granddaughter Kira to ensure it found a good home. Helen made sure that her kids and grandkids were fully stocked with cook-up rice, curry and roti, meat patties, and for her daughters, vermicelli, pepper pot and pine tarts. Her signature Guyanese Christmas cake was the best. Friends and neighbours in her apartment building will remember Helen Tej for her love, kindness and bright smile, as well as for her dumplings and banana bread.


Helen spent the last few weeks in hospital getting daily visits from her husband, daughter Shalesa and others, phone and video calls from family and friends, locally and around the world. They filled her heart with joy and laughter. She passed away full of hope that her heart surgery would be successful. She left this world without fear or pain. We honoured her wishes for a private cremation though we knew all who loved her were with her and her family in spirit.


In honour of Helen T. Ishmael, donations can be made to the William Osler Hospital in Brampton or the Trillium Hospital in Mississauga, which took such good care of her.


“We’ll miss her; until we meet again!” ❤


Donations: William Osler Hospital , Brampton, Ontario

Donations: Trillium Hospital  , Mississauga, Ontario


8 replies
  1. Hélène Hussain Pilgrim
    Hélène Hussain Pilgrim says:

    I met Mrs. Ishmael for a few hours in Montreal many years ago. That short time together was enough for me to appreciate her attentiveness, warmth, bubbly joy and welcoming spirit. I will never forget how she made me feel. May she rest in eternal peace with the Creator. X

  2. Carmelita Agranoff
    Carmelita Agranoff says:

    Our sincerest condolences to the entire familyx
    Your tribute is so beautiful, and it gives a clear picture of the beauty and love surrounding Helen.
    May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

  3. Dave Gilbert
    Dave Gilbert says:

    Hi Azaleta,

    So sorry to hear of your mom’s passing from brother Grant. I remember the fun times we had on Ruttan Bay at your house, vivid memories of your Mom’s cooking and some of the great samples she would share with us. Very generous lady! My thoughts are with you.

  4. Patti Roberts
    Patti Roberts says:

    I am so sorry for your loss Azaleta. I extend my condolences to you and your family. A very thoughtfully written tribute to a wonderful woman. I remember her beautiful smile. Her love for her family will always remain with you all.

  5. Ruth Thackray
    Ruth Thackray says:

    Oh Azalea 💔 there are no words that can express the loss of our mothers🙏🏼😓

    Buy your beautiful tribute came as close as possible. My deepest condolences to you and your loved ones. 🙏🏼❤️

  6. julie hoffer
    julie hoffer says:

    My sincere condolences Azaleta to you and your entire Family for your loss of your beautiful beloved Mother. Nothing like a Mother’s 💗 love. Beautiful tribute. Hugs to you.

  7. Sylvie and Steven MacNeil
    Sylvie and Steven MacNeil says:

    Though we only knew of Helen as “Schez’s Mom” we heard nothing but love in the voices of those who spoke of her. Our deepest condolences to the whole family, our hearts break for your loss.

  8. Azaleta Ishmael-Newry
    Azaleta Ishmael-Newry says:

    Rest in peace mom. You were an amazing anchor and even keel for our family and we love you and miss you. I miss our daily laughs and calls and my go to for advice. You live on in me forever. Thanks for being an amazing grandmother to my daughters and sharing your love with all of my special friends. I love you forever. – Your daughter Azaleta


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