Cover photo for Helen M. Spera's Obituary
Helen M. Spera Profile Photo

Helen M. Spera

October 22, 1917 — January 24, 2018

Helen Marie Spera (nee DeRusso) 1917-2018 (100+) Helen was a lovely and vivacious woman. Born in Philadelphia from Italian immigrant parents, she grew up with her brothers and sisters in her family’s corner market. Always fun-loving, Helen loved to dance, much to the chagrin of her parents, and would often be found dancing away the night at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard before and during World War II. Married twice, she and her first husband had a son, Thomas Flahive, who joined the Marines during the Vietnam conflict. Thomas was killed in action and Helen suffered greatly from this profound loss, every day for the rest of her life. But, always stronger than she gave herself credit for, Helen eventually remarried (Peter) and shortly after his death, sold her Sartain Street home, pooled her money with her sister Mary and brother-in-law Anthony (“Tony” or“Beefy”), and moved across the bridge to Jersey. Moving didn’t take the love of the city from Helen, she and her sister would make a weekly trek to walk Broad Street or Market Street. They were inseparable, especially after the passing of Tony, and would venture out often to walk to grocery stores, church, and to go to the mall - either Deptford or Echelon – well into their late 70’s. Helen loved to play cards on Friday nights, go to bingo at the church on Saturdays, enjoyed the casinos with her brother Mickey, watching the Phillies, and doing word search books.   She had family, great neighbors and friends – life was good. As Helen got older she slowed down but you could still find her feet tapping away as she did her weekly ironing (sheets, pillow cases, shirts and pants) to the sounds of big bands or Sinatra drifting through the house as she worked. She was a clean freak and devoted every Tuesday for a complete scrub down of the house, right down to the crystals in her dining room chandelier. The years were mostly good, sometimes hard, but always lived. Helen passed after illness on January 24, 2018. Her memory will live on in the many who love her. Helen is survived by nieces and nephews, their children and their children’s children. She is preceded in death by her husband Peter Spera and son Thomas Flahive, as well as her siblings and their spouses : Mary (Tony), Johnny (Vie), Sal (Lena), and Mickey (Yola); and a niece and two nephews. Relatives and friends are invited to her Mass of Christian Burial, which will be celebrated on Tuesday morning 10am at Holy Child Parish, St. Teresa Church, 13 E. Evesham Rd, Runnemede, NJ. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, Pa. If desired, the family requests memorial donations to the Wounded Warrior Project at To express condolences please visit Arrangements by POPIOLEK FUNERAL HOME, Barrington.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen M. Spera, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Visits: 1

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors