Presented at the 2019 AMSF AGM by Marilyn McKim
Helen was born in Paris, Ontario in 1926 and died in Guelph on November 28, 2018 at the age of 92. It was just over a year ago that she had a horrific accident when she tumbled 40 feet into the ravine behind her retirement home. Two boys happened to hear her cries and ensured she got to a hospital where she spent time in the ICU after surgery. But that fall was just too much and her body became frail over the next few months. A service of remembrance was held on December 15 at Metropolitan United Church in Toronto where Helen had served in many capacities over 40 years. AMSF was well represented and one of the two charities suggested for receiving donations in lieu of flowers was AMSF.
Helen earned a nursing degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1952. After graduating from the United Church of Canada Training School in 1954, she spent a year in Portugal and four in Angola. Tuberculosis cut her time in Angola short but her early return to Canada never dulled her interest in Angola and its people. She became AMSF’s Regional Representative for the Toronto area and spent many a day in the company of Jean Walker as they folded letters, stuffed envelopes and applied stamps to the newsletter mailing. Helen was also AMSF’s representative to the United Church’s Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations Committee by attending meetings and reporting to both bodies on mutual activities.
In her last years, I visited Helen several times at her retirement residence here in Toronto and after she moved to Guelph last summer. Helen was always pleasant, inquisitive, gracious and accommodating. She would frequently offer me tea and ask about my family. We shared many tales of AMSF friends and activities.