Helene Julliette Todd

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Helene Julliette Todd, 93, died Jan. 4, 2005 after almost 12 years with leukemia.

She was born Oct. 5, 1911 in Manhattan, N.Y.

Her family owned a boarding house in Brighton, N.Y. where she met and married a young violinist who was studying at the Eastman School of Music. The couple moved to Cleveland, Ohio where they had two children and both pursued careers in music.

Following her husband's death, she moved to Phoenix. Helene was an accomplished pianist, who taught music for more than 50 years, and was sought after as one of the most premier teachers in the Valley.

She moved to Tonto Basin in 1995 where, along with her daughter, she owned and operated several small businesses that were previously owned by her son.

Helene was a devoted family person and enjoyed living her life in a selfless, independent manner. She was a "giver" all of her life, making sacrifices to raise her children and was always willing to lend a hand. Although she was a petite woman, she had an incredible inner strength. When first being diagnosed with cancer in 1992, and given a death sentence with only six months to live, she displayed that strength by defying all odds

She enjoyed traveling with her daughter to various parts of the country, Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, and other parts of the world.

She is survived by her daughter, Sandra Fendler; grandsons, Parker (Jennifer) Fendler, and Baron (Shannon) Fendler; and five great-grandchildren, Austin, Megan, Tanner, Grant and Reid.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Andrew John Rusiniak in 1965, and son, Alexander Clayton Todd in 1992.

A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 15 at the Tonto Basin Cemetery.

Donations can be made to Tonto Basin Fire Department, PO Box 48, Tonto Basin, AZ 85553, or to the Tonto Basin School, PO Box 337, Tonto Basin, AZ 85553.

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