Former Petrolia councillor, health care advocate Helen Havlik dies

File Photo Former Petrolia Councillor Helen Havlik has died. Seen here in 2013, she served the town for eight years and was also active in the health care community, serving as the president of the Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition.

Helen Havlik, who served as a Petrolia councillor and fought to keep Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital’s vibrant, has passed away.

Havlik – a nurse and director of nursing – served as the president of the Sarnia-Lambton Health Coalition for many years. She advocated to keep services at the CEEH during her tenure, worried about “small insidious cuts” which she feared would lead to the hospital eventually closing.

Havlik was also one of the first people to suggest Glenview – the home of the Engleharts which became the first hospital – should be separated from the hospital and remain an historic site. That’s now part of the 25 year plan to renovate the hospital.

Havlik also served eight years on town council.

In Aug. 2013, Councillor Havlik, who was in her 80s at the time, had a stroke and took a leave of absence while recovering. She told The Independent at the time she hoped to return to the council table, because she felt “obligated to do something for the town.”

Former Petrolia mayor John McCharles served with Havlik. “Helen was extremely dedicated to rural health and promoted CEE every chance she got,” he tells The Independent.

“She believed being on council gave her a forum to get her message out about rural health and the support that was required from the community.

“She was strong-willed and well versed in health care and the politics in the system.”