Helen L. Cassanova Bieda, 100, a resident of the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH), Gulfport, died April 24, 2023 in Gulfport. A native of Biloxi, she was a long-time resident of Ocean Springs. Mrs. Bieda was a 1941 graduate of Biloxi High School, and had coordinated class reunion activities since 1972. She attended Newcomb College at Tulane University and the University of Wisconsin.
Helen served in the U.S. Navy (WR) during WW II, and was a program volunteer for the Biloxi USO prior to and following her military service. She worked several years for the Southern Bell Telephone Company in Biloxi, and worked briefly as a news editor for WLOX Radio. Mrs. Bieda was employed as a recreation director by the U.S. Army Occupation Forces in Tokyo, Japan, in the 1940s, and with the U.S. Air Force at Keesler AFB in the 1950s. She was Mississippi State Coordinator for TOPS Club, Inc., nearly 20 years, and held various offices in TOPS chapters in Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Mississippi since 1968.
At the AFRH, Mrs. Bieda was a member of the Resident Advisory Committee, where she chaired the Morale, Welfare and Recreation committee and served on the Health and Wellness committee. She was music director of the AFRH Catholic Chapel, and was a Women Veterans 2013 Calendar Girl.
A former member of Nativity BVM Catholic Cathedral, Helen sang in the cathedral choir for many years, was a member of the parish Liturgy Team, and led scripture/communion services at area nursing homes and retirement communities. At St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, Ocean Springs, Helen served several terms on the Parish Council, chaired the Liturgy committee, and was a cantor and coordinator of music ministries for 20 years. She also was a member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.
In support of the interests of her children during their youth, Mrs. Bieda had participated in Parent-Teacher-Student organizations, assisted school music programs as a band parent and choir parent, was a Cub Scout den mother, and served on the Girl Scout council. She enthusiastically championed school and recreation league baseball, basketball, and football teams, and was an advisor and teacher for church youth groups.
Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Mrs. Bieda had worked several years as a hospital volunteer at the Keesler AFB Medical Center, where patients and staff referred to her as the "Good Humor Lady." A former board member of the Coast Community Concert Association, she chaired the membership committee five years. She was a charter member of Mississippi Mates, Unit 150 of WAVES National, and had served the unit in several offices.
In the Kingdom of God, Helen has joined her late husband of 44 years, Louis S. Bieda; her parents, Frank A. and Frances Velcich Cassanova; her brother, F. A. Cassanova Jr.; her sister and brother-in-law, Audrey and Chris Moran; her brother and sister-in-law, Wallace and Marilyn Cassanova; her son, Patrick Bieda; and numerous beloved relatives and friends.
Surviving to cherish the memory of their mother and grandmother are her children, Michael Bieda and wife Mary (Kennedy), Charleston, SC, Dianne Piri, Charleston, SC, Jim Bieda and wife Sylvia Tether, Charleston, SC, Paul Bieda and wife Carrie (Croan), Dallas, TX, and Christine Tucker and husband Andrew, Flower Mound, TX; and grandchildren, Holly Edgerton, Michael Bieda, Tim Bieda, Brian Bieda, Denyce Quave, Reza Piri, Djalleh Piri, Behzad Piri, Kim Wathen and Travis Bieda; and 14 great-grandchildren. Other survivors include her many nieces and nephews, especially her beloved niece Barbara Sowell and husband Brice, of Gulfport.
A Mass of Christian Burial to celebrate Helen's new life in Christ will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. in the Armed Forces Retirement Home Chapel, 1800 Beach Drive, Gulfport, with visitation one hour prior to service. Private interment at the Biloxi National Cemetery will be held at a later date. Mrs. Bieda's family has requested memorial requests to the charitable works of the St. Vincent DePaul Society, Nativity BVM Cathedral, P.O. Box 367, Biloxi, MS 39533-0367, or Feed My Sheep, P.O. Box 6883, Gulfport, MS 39506.
Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Helen L. Cassanova Bieda. View and sign online tribute at www.bokfh.com