, Salem, MA

April 30, 2014

Helen (Koklas) LaBonte, 88

Salem — Mrs. Helen (Koklas) LaBonte, 88, affectionately known as “The Popcorn Lady,” of Salem, died on April 28, 2014, at Peabody Glen Nursing Home in Peabody.

Born in Salem, she was the daughter of the late Philip D. and Mary (Kapandritis) Koklas. She was raised and educated in Salem, and was a lifelong resident of Salem.

Prior to her retirement, Helen carried on the family tradition of operating the popcorn business on Salem Common for many years. She was known throughout the world for her friendly and outgoing nature, and the delicious popcorn that she sold to residents and tourists alike. The smell of her popcorn was so inviting it drew people to Salem Common, and her vivacious personality resonated with all. Mrs. LaBonte was the proprietor and operator of Phil’s Lunch Diner on Jackson Street in Salem for many years.

A longtime member of Grace Episcopal Church in Salem and St. Vasilios Church in Peabody, Helen was a dedicated Christian. She was a member of the Order of Eastern Star in Salem and the Professional Business Women’s Club of the North Shore.

She was a dedicated mother and grandmother, who will be deeply missed.

Helen is survived by her sons, Philip LaBonte of Candia, N.H., and Peter LaBonte and his wife, Ann, of Middleton; and her grandchildren, Krystle LaBonte, Peter J. LaBonte II and Daniel LaBonte. She was the former wife of Arthur J. LaBonte.

ARRANGEMENTS: Her funeral will be held from The O’Donnell Funeral Home, 46 Washington Sq., at Salem Common, Salem, on Friday, May 2, at 9:15 a.m., followed by her funeral service in St. Vasilios Greek Orthodox Church, Peabody, at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends invited. Burial will be in Greenlawn Cemetery, Salem. Visiting hours are Thursday, May 1, from 4 to 7 p.m. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit