Helen Diane Estrella Alwardt of Vineyard Haven died on Oct. 2. She was 92.

She was born on June 18, 1931 in Oak Bluffs. She was the youngest of six children born to Manuel Estrella of New Bedford and Mary Oliver Estrella of Sao Miguel, Azores.

Complications during her delivery led to progressive and lifelong issues with her sight that many never realized she had. Being legally blind never slowed her down and she remained fervently independent her entire life, walking everywhere and even convincing her brother Frankie to teach her to drive a sedan with rumble seats.

Helen began work at the age of seven, selling flowers and vegetables from the family garden to pay for school clothes and shoes. If she sold everything in her basket, she was allowed to stop at the corner store for an ice cream. She worked many jobs throughout her life and took pride in all of them.

She met the love of her life, Herman Alwardt Sr., on Circuit avenue in Oak Bluffs. He was riding down the street with his friends, saw her, jumped out of the car, ran over and put his arms around her. It was love at first sight. Helen described him as such a sweetheart and the light of her life from the moment she laid eyes on him. Together they had two children, Cheryl and Herman Jr.

She loved raising a family and being a wife, mother, Nana and great-grandmother. She considered her family her miracles. Her house was always full of life, love and food. For more than 60 years, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were always coming and going, walking a well-worn path from the door to the cookie jar to the living room. They were always met with love and never left empty handed.

Helen was a devout Catholic who regularly attended services at St Augustine’s Church in Vineyard Haven. When her husband became ill, faith and prayer got her through the 10 years she lovingly and tirelessly cared for him. She traveled to the hospital every day, by bus or by walking five miles round trip to ensure he was properly attended to. Losing him was the hardest thing she ever had to overcome.

After Herman’s death, she filled her time with her friends and family. She enjoyed going out to breakfast, shopping or long drives with her friends. She took trips to Foxwoods and Boston with the Oak Bluffs senior center and went with them to France.

She frequently accompanied her daughter Cheryl to Las Vegas and once visited Montana to visit her first great-grandchild. The highlight of her travels was her 80th birthday trip to the Azores with her granddaughter Kristina. Visiting the ancestral home of her parents was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

In her final years, Helen took great comfort in spending time at the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living. The highlight of her day was riding to the center with Joe the bus driver and playing bingo, exercising, painting and taking field trips with friends. The center provided her with a social outlet and gave much-needed respite to her daughter Cheryl, who dedicated the last five years to taking care of her and ensuring she would remain in her home.

Helen will be greatly missed by her daughter Cheryl Alwardt and her husband Harley, son Herman Alwardt Jr. and his partner Dayna; grandchildren Melaney West, Bryan Alwardt, Vanessa West-Fink, Kristina West, Joy Gallant, Amy Gaddi, and their spouses; 13 great-grandchildren; sister in law Priscilla Estrella; niece Nancy Denham; and hundreds of extended family and friends.

She was predeceased by her husband, Herman W. Alwardt Sr., her parents Manny and Mary Estrella, siblings Manny Jr., Mary Jr., Joseph, Antone and Frank Estrella, and her step daughters Joyce Hobby and Mary Joan Alwardt.

Memorial donations can be made to the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living, P.O. Box 1729, Vineyard Haven, Ma 02568 or mvcenter4living.org.