In Memory

Helen Austin (McCord)

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07/28/16 11:35 AM #1    

Dr. Matt Zwerling

I am sad to learn of Helen's passing.  One of my fondest memories of her came at our 20th reunion when we were having a chat.  She was so happy to be there and said, "Are your cheeks hurting as much as mine?" in reference to all the laughing and smiling and loving that was going on.  Subsequently my wife and I visited her in Hawaii where, rather than tending her botanical garden (with the Monterey Pines they sold for Christmas trees) she was happily playing bridge with her lady friends.  I know she will be missed by many of our class.

07/28/16 11:58 AM #2    

John Lancaster

I was very sad to learn of Helen's passing.  She was always such a friendly and upbeat person to everyone who came her way.  Her profile about her life in Hawaii fits perfectly with the lady I remember.  Heaven will be a better place now.  John Lancaster

07/28/16 02:23 PM #3    

Mary Mauvais (Reeve)

My word!  Life is SO fragile!  Helen was loved by SO many!!  And she was always open to welcoming any and all to her touch of heaven on earth on Maui.  My heart is sad today...I send my deepest love to all my classmates and let's remember to say "I love you" far more often than we do.  Love, Diddy





07/28/16 08:21 PM #4    

Patty Lou Johnson (Hardin)

i remember with such fondness Helen and her family, who so often opened their doors for all of us.  I shared my difficult times with Helen and her family was so very kind to me.  When I would spend the night we would laugh and giggle most of the night and our stomachs would hurt and the tears came and the more quiet we would try to be would just sent us into louder and more unacceptable behavior!   She was a dear and trusted friend as she helped me during very difficult times and I knew I never had to say "don't tell anyone" as she kept information to herself. 

Any place we went with Helen we knew a good time would be had by all whether a trip to Mel, a lunch, or outside rollerskating or riding a bike in the sweet California sunshine!

How blessed we all are to have known a dear lady with her smile and wonderful sense of humor.  Mother Teresa was quoted "Let no one ever come to you without leaving  better or happier".  Helen epitomized that quote. 

Helen, may your heart be peaceful and my love goes with you!





07/29/16 05:59 PM #5    

James A. (Jim) Stehr


Losing Helen is so very deeply saddening.  I’ll never forget her.  What I remember most about her is that she was ALWAYS fun and pleasant to be around.  She always seemed to radiate warmth, good cheer and friendship.

I shared time with her in the youth group at Piedmont Community Church, where she was often a student leader.  And she also brightened things up at the church camp, Lodestar Ranch.

I recall that she had this funny ability to wiggle her eyes from side to side in some rapid motion that was both weird and amusing – but basically kind of scary!  It was just another one of her many ways of lightening things up for all of us around her.

She had, I believe, two brothers – John and Steve – and a sister Annie.  They’re also really fine folks.  If I recall correctly, her older brother, John, was riding a chair lift at Squaw Valley some winter many years ago, when the chair stalled, stopped and stranded many riders away from any easy getting-off place.

On the chair in front of his, a woman tried to get off, but her chair was about 20 or 30 feet above the snow.  Somehow she got her parka caught on the chair and was dangling helplessly from it.

So, John kicks off his skis, climbs up to the greasy black cable and goes hand-over-hand along it to the next chair.  There, he pulls the woman up onto it, all safe and ready for an easy exit at the next stop.  Wow!

That was brother John, but I always felt that Helen had that very same kind of moxie when in came to a challenge.  She’d just jump right in.

Hey: It’s starting to look like those people who told us that life is finite weren’t kidding.  About eight years ago, a few days after I got home from my cancer surgery, I was walking along the Alameda shoreline with my son, Michael.  We looked at the gorgeous view of San Francisco across the water and among the clouds.  I was still quite shaken in recovery, but he was very reinforcing.

What really struck me was when he said, “You know, Dad, tomorrow is guaranteed to no one.  Every day is a gift.”  I took that thought in quietly for a few minutes, and since then, it crosses my mind almost every day.

I wonder more and more, just how many of our class reunions I’ll be privileged to attend.

Rest in peace, dear Helen.



08/08/16 10:17 PM #6    

Bonnie Drewes (Stehr)

Gage and I joined Patty and Jeff Monson at their cabin at Pine Crest this past weekend.  We went out on a boat to cruise around the Lake at Pine Crest.  Our captain was Jeff and he was resplendent in his Tommy Bahama shirt in honor of the occasion.  We raised our glasses in a toast and said Aloha to Helen.  She was a friend to all of us and will be sadly missed.  Her spirit lives on.  Aloha, Helen!


Bonnie Drewes Stehr

08/09/16 08:47 AM #7    

Sherry Sears (Bull)

I was so sorry to hear about Helen leaving us. I have so many fond memories of our Campfire Girl escapades and many happy overnights at their home on the 17 mile drive. She had a wonderful loving,kind, and generous family. Helen was always smart ,sensitive and a little naughty.  She will be missed.Watch out HEAVEN  here she comes. Sherry Sears Bull

08/09/16 01:19 PM #8    

John Austin

It has been heartwarming to read these touching comments about Helen. Once her mother, Mary, died she was very much the matriarch of the extended Austin family. "Tutu" to her grandchildren, nieces and nephews. She gave freely of herself to so many - especially her Maui ohana. She never forgot her PHS friends..Thank you for the friendships you extended to her over the years. - John Austin

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