October 6, 1922 ~ August 29, 2020

Born in: Tulare, California
Resided in: Newark, California

Our beloved mother, Helen Rose Bettencourt, a lifetime resident of Newark, Ca left her earthly life peacefully on August 29, 2020.

She was born in Tulare, CA to John and Esperanza Cordeniz, immigrants of Terceira in the Azore Islands. She is pre-deceased from her husband Leonard L. Bettencourt where they made their life in Newark.

She was one of five siblings pre-deceased by her brothers John Cordeniz, Manuel Cordeniz, Oliver Cordeniz and her sister, Alice Rose.

She is survived by her loving children, Dennis and Rosemarie; son-in-law Michael; grandchildren Katherine, Brian and Michelle along with two great-grandchildren, Thea and Aiden.

Helen graduated from Washington High School in Fremont. She married Leonard at Holy Spirit Church in Fremont. During the 1950’s they settled into their home in Newark.

Helen was an active member of the S.E.S council #8 and was on the Bulletin Committee for over 20 years. She was a devoted member of the Holy Ghost committee, Y.L.I, PFSA, Golden Hearts Club and S.P.R.S.I organizations. She was Fraternalist of the year in 1997 and served the Portuguese community with pride, joy and dignity. She treated everyone she came across with great generosity and unconditional love. She attended St. Edwards Catholic Church in Newark her entire life as a devoted parishioner.

Helen enjoyed being with her kids, family and friends for any social gathering that brought everyone together. Her church and her Portuguese heritage were two of her greatest passions. She also enjoyed traveling and was able to enjoy Australia, Canada and the Azores. For her 80th birthday she traveled to Portugal where she was able to experience Fatima.  She also saw the Pope in Vatican City, Italy. Her zest for life will be truly missed as she blessed all of us with tremendous love and kindness.

In memory of Helen the family asks that donations be made to the following charities: Sister John Marie’s Pantry, PO Box 3279, Fremont, CA 94539, S.E.S council #8 of Newark, 6430 Thornton Ave., Newark CA 94560 or the Dominican Sister of Mision San Jose, 43326 Mission Blvd, Fremont, CA 94539.


The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in Helen R. Bettencourt's name.

Sister John Marie's Pantry

P.O. Box 3276 Mission Blvd.
Fremont, CA

Memories Timeline

Photo Gallery


  1. CandleLoved my godmother and all she embraced – faith, hope and love – with zest and passion to be sure. Everything a godmother should be with the most joyful heart. In their later years, her brother, my dad, would always remember her response to the question, “How are you doing?” “I’m doing the best with what I’ve got to work with,” she’d say with a big smile. But in reality, it applied to all her years on earth. She always did her best, and she was blessed with a lot of moral character and fortitude to work with. Godspeed and rest easy, Aunt Helen. We will miss you two – your twinkling eyes, your smiles but most of all your loving presence. I hope my dad asked you how you were doing when you got to Heaven’s gates. I’m guessing your answer might be a bit different! xoxo

  2. I have known Helen for 56 years. She used to watch Dennis play sports at Newark High School. She didn’t miss a game. When I worked at Fry’s Food Stores in the early 70s, she would routinely be in line so that I could check out her groceries. She was the nicest person and was the best mother. She will be missed; I send my heartfelt condolences to Dennis and Rosemarie.

  3. CandleThough far away, I think back to all the times of family gatherings and what they meant to us.
    Aunt Helen was the energy in leading our family. She was not only my Aunt but my Godmother, very much loved and respected. I feel comfort that you and your siblings are all together again. All of you young, smiling and taking charge with the dynamic personalities that all had, and will never be forgotten. Bless you and thank you for all you have done. Love to you always.

  4. CandleI remember the times Aunt Helen would take us kids to Sea Cliff and fish for smelts off the cement boat, picnic and play in the beach there. And the times I would take her and my mother searching for clams at the San Mateo Bridge. You could always count on seeing her at every sporting event Dennis participated in. One could say she was always “on the go” and loved being around family and friends. Thank you for all the memories Aunt Helen.

  5. If you ever wanted to know what the best the Portuguese community of Newark could offer, you need look no further than my dear Aunt Helen. She had a heart of gold, energy that seemingly knew no bounds and a cheerfulness that could chase away a cloudy day. Someone once wrote that everyone is replaceable. They never met Aunt Helen. Rest in peace, Tia, e grato pelo seu amor.

  6. CandleAunt Helen (David’s aunt) was such an engaging person. She once called me and speaking of her sister, my mother-in-law Alice, she said “Laura, Alice is not just my sister, she is my best friend”. She was sincere. And the time they saw the pope, they told the story like Saints wittnessing a miricle. I admired her commitment to faith. She was fun, outgoing and could get me the only cold crab at a Pavillion crab feed. The service was beautiful and Michelle playing the recording of her voice was so touching. She lived her best life and I’m glad I knew her. God Bless your family.


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