LONG BEACH Virginia (Heacock) Helm was born April 7, 1919, the daughter of Everett and Bertha Heacock in Portland. She passed away peacefully on Jan. 14, 2011, in Long Beach, at age 91.
From childhood she had a strong, bold spirit for life and was fun, clever, creative, optimistic and whimsical. She was always active, a self-starter and goal oriented, trying to use her God-given abilities to help others, and make a difference in her world. Totally invested in everything she did, she tackled many commitments and causes, fulfilling many roles at the same time. She attended George Fox University and Seattle Pacific University, earning her teaching degree in 1940. Both universities have since honored her with alumni awards. She taught elementary school in Vancouver and Portland. Married in 1942 to Eldon Helm, they had 43 years together until he preceded her in death in 1985.
She was a successful wife, mother and grandmother, raising two children. She was honored in 1971 as Oregon State Mother of the Year, chosen as an example of strong moral and spiritual motherhood. While raising her children, she was also active in her community, leading education programs and as president of the PTA. She taught childrens Bible story clubs after school and led a Camp Fire Girls group. Concerned about literacy, she tutored English as a second language. A trained and spontaneous speaker on social and spiritual concerns, she addressed womens retreats, banquets and conventions. One of her special ministries was sending cards and writing encouraging letters to family and friends around the world.
Throughout her life, she wrote newsletter articles, speeches, poetry, devotionals and diaries until her hand could no longer write. Another ministry was visiting people who were elderly or disabled. Concerned about the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs in society, she taught seminars on prevention, and was active in the Womans Christian Temperance Union, where she served as both Oregon state president and vice president.
Mrs. Helm was proud of her Quaker heritage, and was a lifelong member of Reedwood Friends Church, leading Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, youth groups, and camps at Twin Rocks Friends Camp in the summers. She taught many small group womens bible studies, and was active in christian womens clubs. Later, as president of friends womens ministries, she traveled to churches throughout the Pacific Northwest to speak and encourage women.
In retirement, she and her husband served for 10 years as overseas missionaries in Guatemala, Kenya, Botswana, Dominican Republic and Haiti, where they had many inspiring experiences.
In 2006 she moved to the Long Beach Peninsula to be near her daughter.
Survivors include her daughter, Coral Hughes and husband Bob of Ocean Park; son, Everett Helm and wife Carroll of Mulino, Ore.; grandson, Daniel Helm and wife Lisa; granddaughter Sara DuVal and husband Alan of Molalla, Ore.; great-granddaughter Nora Helm of Portland; and great-grandson William DuVal of Molalla, Ore.
All are welcome to a celebration of life memorial service on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 3 p.m., at Reedwood Friends Church, 2901 SE Steele St., Portland, OR.
In lieu of flowers, the family requested memorial funds to go to Reedwood Friends Church, 2901 SE Steele St., Portland, OR 97202; NW Yearly Meeting of Friends, 200 N. Meridian, Newberg, OR 97132; George Fox University, Memorial fund #6256, 414 N. Meridian, Newberg, OR 97132-5890; or Seattle Pacific University, Gifts, Development, 3307 3rd Ave. W., Seattle, WA 98119-1997. Her guest book is available at www.penttilaschapel.com.