MASSENA -- Toni M. Helmer, age 61, of Old Farm Circle passed away unexpectedly, early Wednesday afternoon February 28, 2018.
Friends and family are welcome to call the Phillips Memorial Home, Massena on Monday March 5, 2018 from 1 - 3 and 6 - 8 p.m. Upon the family's wishes, there will be no funeral services. A graveside service will take place at the convenience of the family in Calvary Cemetery, Massena in the spring.
Toni is survived by her loving husband, Michael, of 42 years; and their two daughters, Nicole Helmer Simon and her husband, Christopher Simon, of Ballston Spa, NY, and Amanda Helmer of Massena; along with a grandson, Nathaniel Simon. She is also survived by her mother, Mary Caruso of Massena; and her sisters, Nancy Wilson, of Port St. Lucie, FL, Maryanne Brothers and her husband, Phillip Brothers, of Liverpool, NY, along with a brother, Joseph Caruso, and his wife, Linda Caruso, of Fort Myers, FL, and many sister in-law's, brother in-law's, nieces and nephews.
Toni was predeceased by her father, Enrico Caruso, her maternal grandparents, Marion and Joseph Furfaro, and a brother-in-law, Les Wilson, who passed away on March 2, 2018.
Toni was born on October 8, 1956 in Malone, NY to Enrico and Mary (Furfaro) Caruso. She was a graduate of Massena Central High School Class of 1974. A year later Toni married her soul mate and the love of her life, Michael O. Helmer, on July 5, 1975 at St. Mary's Church, following which they began their family. Toni and Michael rarely spent a day apart. They enjoyed working on their home, traveling in their motor home with their dogs, and spending time with their children every chance they had.
Toni's talents, energy and passion for creative outlets and thirst for knowledge could not be contained and so she shared them with everyone that crossed her path. Some will recall the ceramics class that Toni taught them, the time that she instructed their aerobics class, or their stylish new outfit from "Boutique by Toni". Still others will recall her helping them sell their home or purchasing their home, while she pointed out to them all the potential she could see in their future home.
Toni later went on to follow in the footsteps of her beloved father and her sister, by becoming a hairdresser. Even when she tried to retire from hairdressing after a couple of decades, her client base continued to hold out hope that they would be able to get their "do" done just the way they wanted from Toni every once in a while, and in true Toni fashion, she rarely said no.
Most recently, Toni helped people celebrate their accomplishments and best days, creating edible works of art, from hand-painted and personalized cookies to four-tiered wedding cakes through her business, "Mimi's Cookies". It was a venture where she held high standards for every aspect of the process.
Anyone that knew Toni, knew she was an animal lover, particularly dogs. There was always a dog not too far away from Toni's feet or lap. Among the countless characteristics that Toni possessed, her love of her family and friends, and her tireless support and encouragement of them, will be what is remembered most by all that knew her. Her door and her heart were always open. It was important to Toni to make people as comfortable as possible. Those closest to her knew that at the end of every phone call, text message, or departure from her arms, there was an "I love you".
She was loved by all that knew her and will forever be missed by her family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial contributions to be shared with the Massena Humane Society; 177 Massena South Racquette River Rd, Massena, NY 13662 or Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley; 6805 US-11, Potsdam, NY 13676.
Those wishing to share online condolence and memories with Toni's family may do so, please visit www.PhillipsMemorial.com