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Helen E. Bruno

Helen E. Bruno, 94, Altoona, died Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, at The Lutheran Home at Hollidaysburg.

She was born in Altoona, daughter of Mike and Maria (Lepore) Petta. Her husband of 65 incredible years, Patsy, died on April 21, 2009.

She was also preceded in death by her brother, Daniel.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said that the "lives of great (people) all remind us we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time."

Helen leaves behind her three sons: Dennis and wife, Debbie, of Salt Lake City, Utah, Michael and wife, Theresa, of Wooster, Ohio, and Pat and wife, Lois, of Selinsgrove; eight grandchildren: Chris, Carrie, Dean, Michelle, Andrea, Olivia, David and Jennifer; and 13 great-grandchildren. There is no question that her gentle heart touched so many others in such a positive way during her journey.

Her faith was always a strong influence in her life. She was a lifelong and devoted member of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Altoona and a member of the Altar and Rosary Society. St Francis of Assisi's prayer, "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace" provided guidance during her lifetime.

"Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth," Rumi said.

What Helen did was to provide love, kindness, joy, nurturing, understanding, faith, light and peace to all those lives that she touched. She was an excellent Italian cook (her legendary recipes have been chronicled in a book), an amazing mom, a dedicated wife (trying to keep Pappap in check was a full-time job), an extremely hard worker (being a mom and holding down another job during difficult times), a good and kind friend, a patient, eternal optimist, a teacher by example, a lover of daffodils, tulips and roses, an avid Penn State, Altoona Area High School and Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and a proud grandmother and great-grandmother. These are just some of the ways that she knelt and kissed the earth. She was instrumental in starting the Cellini-Bruno Fund for children and adolescents in need in the Altoona Area School District.

Longfellow said "Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, was not spoken of the soul." Helen's soul will forever live on in our family and in the hearts that she has touched. Almost to the very second of her passing, another soul, another footprint, another way to kneel and kiss the earth, was born by the name of Finnegan Francis Bruno, her 13th great-grandchild.

Friends will be received from 6 to 8 p.m. today, Sept. 11, 2015, at Santella Funeral Home, where a vigil for the deceased will be held. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Altoona Area School District Foundation, 1415 Sixth Ave., Altoona, PA 16602, on behalf of the Cellini-Bruno Fund. Other contributions may be made to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church or to the donor's favorite charity.

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