Helen was born with her twin sister Doris on August 1, 1933 in Victoria, British Columbia. She attended the University of British Columbia and Vancouver General Hospital, graduating as a public health nurse in 1955.
Helen devoted much of her life to working with people. In San Francisco, she first worked with Blue Shield/Blue Cross for ten years as a medical auditor and office nurse. She then obtained a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling at San Francisco State University and worked for 10 years with the city and county of San Francisco mental health department until proposition 13 resulted in dissolution of the department. She then worked for Nutri Systems for 10 years as a weight loss/nutrition counselor until retirement in 1990.
Helen was very active at the First Unitarian Church in Oakland, serving on its board (chairperson for 2 years) and social action committees. She was also active with the Oakland retired Senior Volunteer Program, serving as board chairperson for 2 years.
The last ten years of her life were filled with animal rescue activities, founding Hopalong Animal Rescue in 1993 and volunteering at the Oakland Animal Shelter. She was a docent at the Oakland Zoo. Until her death in 2001, Helen also served on Oakland’s Animal Shelter advisory commission, tirelessly advocating for the animals and for building a new animal shelter, which is now a reality. She personally saved hundreds of stray or abandoned cats and dogs. With typical modesty, she would attribute this to the loving support of her husband Jim and the efforts of many animal rescue volunteers.
For over 40 years, Helen and Jim traveled the world, sharing their adventures and insights into other cultures through eagerly awaited yearly “travel letters.” They sponsored a travel slide/video program weekly at the Oakland main library for 8 years until budget cutbacks caused the program to be canceled.
Helen and Jim where members of the Dimond community for 17 years and she is remembered as a friend, a teacher, an advocate, a rescuer, an inspiration.