A treasure of Gibsons, Helen Alp a.k.a. the shopping cart lady, passed away on March 1 at St. Mary's Hospital.
Alp suffered a stroke several weeks before and was being cared for at St. Mary's Hospital as her health was in steady decline, Alp's son Edward told Coast Reporter this week.
She passed away last Saturday at the age of 82.
Born in Greece, Alp came to Gibsons with her husband in 1980 and the pair ran a successful cleaning company called Janitorial Ltd. until Alp's husband became too afflicted with Alzheimer's to continue.
It was then Alp decided to start picking up bottles and cans around Gibsons for a little extra money. At the same time the lifelong cleaner would pick up trash to help make Gibsons more attractive.
Soon the tiny Greek woman became a fixture in town, daily pushing a cart from her home in Lower Gibsons to pick up bottles, cans and refuse.
The Gibsons community came to love Alp for her work to keep the town clean and she was thrown a huge community party when she turned 80 two years ago.
In honour of Alp's life a memorial service will be held at Devlin Funeral Home this Friday, March 7 at 1 p.m.
"Part of my Mom's wishes for her service was to have a religious ceremonial service," Edward said, noting the public is welcome to attend.
Following the service, which is expected to run for about one and a half hours, there will be a reception at Leo's Tapas and Grill in Lower Gibsons.
"I know there's a few people that may want to say something and if they don't want to speak at the service they can certainly speak at the reception," Edward said. "I know Ed Hill's going to be there and former Mayor [Barry] Janyk will probably be there, so maybe people would just prefer to come and have a laugh and share a memory at the restaurant rather than the chapel."
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations to the Alzheimer's Society in Alp's memory.
"We thought because she was somewhat affected by dementia and my father suffered from Alzheimer's that it would be somewhat appropriate," Edward said.
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