Helen Wawrzyniak Gillis
Helen Gillis will always be remembered as the wife of Lester "Baby Face Nelson" Gillis. As young Helen Wawrzyniak, she married him at the age of 16 and had a baby within the first year. Within a short time, she had another baby. By the time she was 20 years old, she was declared Public Enemy #1 with a "shoot to kill" order in effect. Her only crime was that she stayed with Lester Gillis through his escalating career of murder and mayham. When he became involved with John Dillinger, it catapulted Helen out of her anonymous life as wife of a mobster. Here are some photos of Helen at the zenith of public interest in her.
Helen Gillis in Court in Madison, Wisconsin, upon the revokation of her probation shortly after the death of her husband in a shootout with FBI Agents Sam Cowley and Ed Hollis. Both agents were killed in the shootout, as was Lester Gillis.
Helen remained close to Gillis's family. His sister, Juliette Fitzsimmons, cared for Helen's children in her Chicago home when Helen went out on the road with her husband.
She died in 1987 and is buried in Chicago. Although she died over fifty years after her husband, she is buried next to him in St. Joseph's Cemetary in Chicago.