In Memoriam

Helen Weinland

Helen Weinland

Helen Weinland, 80, died at her home on December 2, 2021, at Parker Ridge in Blue Hill after a brief bout with liver cancer.

The daughter of Richard and Virginia Weinland, Helen was born in New York City, and raised in Chappaqua, New York. She attended Dana Hall, Mount Holyoke College (class of ’63), and Indiana University majoring in history. After several years of teaching history at Ohio State University, she joined the United States Foreign Service and served in the U. S. State Department for 20 years. Her postings took her to Switzerland, Nigeria, Czechoslovakia, Rwanda, and Berlin, where she was present as the Berlin Wall opened up. Of special note were her appointments as one of only three women Deputy Chiefs of Mission at the time of her service in Rwanda, and as Consul General in her final posting to Kaduna, Nigeria. She self-published a very interesting account of her career: Living Abroad with Uncle Sam: Foreign Service Days.

Helen’s interest in travel and foreign countries was sparked by growing up in a family where foreign visitors and exchange students were frequent dinner table guests. She forged life-long relationships with friends from France, England, Pakistan, and Somalia long before joining the foreign service. Her Nigerian postings led to her sponsorship of a Nigerian teen-ager for a college education in the US, subsequently adopting her as her daughter. Kekuut and her extended family are now a significant part of Helen’s extended family.

Helen regaled all with stories about her experiences all over the world, both during her career and post-retirement travels. Her commitment to family was unwavering. She researched family history and donated land for a nature preserve dedicated to her parents in Penobscot ME. An indefatigable organizer, Helen is well known for planning gatherings and reunions among friends, college classmates, and family. Her strong faith and social commitment led to her long involvement in Partakers - a prison ministry - when she lived in Boston. She loved the Red Sox, the Metropolitan Opera and her cat companions. Of her it can be said, she led a lively and meaningful life.

Helen is survived by two siblings, Thomas Weinland (Mary Ginn) and Margaret Weinland, a daughter, Kekuut Hoomkwap, (Ejiro Emorhokpor), three grandchildren Kathryn, Isabel, and Sophia-Marie Emorhokpor, three nephews, Richard, Christopher and Jay Weinland, and a loving extended family as well as many friends around the world. An Episcopal funeral mass will be held at Saint Francis by the Sea in Blue Hill later in the spring. Donations in Helen’s memory may be sent to Blue Hill Heritage Trust, 157 Hinckley Ridge Road, Blue Hill 04614 or the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency). Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 113 Franklin St. Ellsworth. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com



 
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01/08/22 03:51 PM #1    

Alice Godfrey (Andrus)

Sometimes, it is hard to post a message on our In Memoriam page. Usually, that is when a death is sudden and unexpected. Having been close to Helen for about 20 years, that is the feeling I have thinking about her and that her strong and vibrant spirit is missing. I think that is why many of us have taken a long time to write. Several friends have gathered over zoom to express our shock, our sense of loss and our remembrances of the many aspects of Helen. My main thought is of gratitude for all she gave and for all she cared about in her life.

I worry that the man she ministered to while he was in prison and who is now out trying to find his way (it is not easy) must miss her a lot. She was a guide for him. For her family, especially for her little granddaughters, I hope they grow up with a sense of what a giving person Helen was. Several of us are hoping to meet together over prayer and fellowship with those who knew her well at Trinity Church in Boston. A celebration of her life will be held by her fmaily in May in Blue HIll. The consensus among us is that we are glad she made it back to Blue Hlll which she loved and that her church there welcomed her brief homecoming. 


01/09/22 11:32 PM #2    

Edith Dulles

Thank you, Alice. Edie

 


05/14/22 05:34 PM #3    

Alice Godfrey (Andrus)

This morning, six or seven of Helen's classmates joined virtually and two joined in person for Helen's funeral service at St. Francis in Blue Hill, Maine. The touching service begain and ended with spirituals from the Black Church repetoire. The anthem beautifully sung and the hymn, Jerusalem in Gold, offerred a remembrance of Helen's love of and care in choosing appropriate and comforting music. The priest conducting the Episcopal service knew Helen from earlier times when he and she were both in Blue Hill and at St. Francis, Helen as an indomitable volunteer. 

Attending the wervice was a sense of closure over the sudden loss of Helen from our midst. I believe Steph Smith had some words for Helen's cat, Eleanor, who is now adopted by Steph. She would have told Eleanor what a lot of words were said about Helen's cats, many of whom we in the Boston Group knew. 

In the fall, we will meet in person for a remembrance service for Helen at Trinity Church, marking about a year since she died. The date is to be deretermined. More notice will be given. If you are in Boston, be in touch if you want to join us. 

Meanwhile, I hope you all reflect on the amazing women you met so many years ago in leafy South Hadley. As Adam Sandler once said, "Not too shabby." 

 


05/15/22 12:07 PM #4    

Judith Dolger (Widmann)

I couldn't access the service on Zoom, but I Googled St Francis Episcopal Church in Blue Hill, ME and found the service being live streamed on You Tube. So I was able to see it all, including the classmates who were really on Zoom.  The priest and the cpeakers really did Helen justice and captured her sense of adventure and her kindness, decency, dedication and spirituality.  I was glad I was there "virtually" but wish Helen could have been there in reality, instead.

 

 


05/15/22 05:08 PM #5    

Elaine Langen (Kessler)

It meant alot to me to be in person at Helen's service.  (Steph Smith and I drove up together from Portland to Blue Hill).  Helen was a special friend, a unique and vibrant personality.  It was good to meet her brother and sister and their families, her daughter, her grandchildren, her long time friends.  It was wonderful to hear their remembrances of Helen.  It was palable how everyone wished that Helen were actually there.  It was a beautiful church service, a warm gathering afterward.   Many, I included, felt that Helen would have been pleased. 

    

 


06/25/22 04:53 PM #6    

Susan Fickel (Kroeger)

I especially remember the time I spent with Helen in Zurich, which might have been her first post in the Foreign Service.  She was in the Consular Division then (early '70s) and an American on my flight to Zurich had died.  So before she could even greet me in the airport she had to "work" on dealing with his body and his widow and the paperwork.  My introduction to her life overseas.  Now I so much wish I had visited her in all her foreign posts.  I did see her several times in Washington over the years, and annually up in Maine, since her house in Penobscot and our house on Mount Desert Island were only an hour apart.  We had some very good times and a lot of laughs.  Also our carrels senior year were just across from each other on stacks level 3, so while snacking, napping, and shuffling our file cards for our theses we could occasionally visit, which we did.  She was a very good friend for a long time and I miss her dearly.  I could always count on her to puncture any pomposity or pretension with a deft jab.  I look forward to coming up to Boston this fall for her memorial service.


06/26/22 12:12 PM #7    

Fern Mautner (Beschler)

As I read the commentary written about Helen, it brings all kinds of memories of my own flooding back to me.  I really didn't know Helen at Holyoke, even though we were in the same year.  It wasn't until my husband and I moved to Boston in 1995 that I connected with her.  I knew other classmates and was invited to join the Boston 1963  group that was getting underway......and that turned out to be a deeply supportive gathering that is still ongoing.  Helen was a force of nature and she kept the group to the standards that she thought worthy----that meant that every time we gathered for a shared dinner we went around the table, giving each woman time to speak to either the topic at hand (which Helen had determined) or to catch the group up on what was going on in their lives since we last met.  This is how we deepened our friendships and got to know each other better.  25 years of meeting at least 2 or 3 times a year creates a lot of meaning.   Helen loved to travel and so did my husband and I.  Our first joint venture was India about 20 years ago.  After that we just kept going, having discovered that the 3 of us traveled well together and got along....then came Turkey, Iceland, and Sicily.  After my husband's death in 2018, Helen and I went together to the Baltic states, and then Israel, Egypt and Jordan in 2020, our final adventure, although we didn't know it.  She had become my other sister by that time, and I miss her every day.  We had one other tradition that we both loved----we each had a birthday in July and to honor those 2 dates, we would meet at JP Licks Ice Cream shop in Jamaica Plain (where we both lived at the time) and treat each other to a double-scoop cone!  So, when July 28th rolls around this year, you know where I will be heading and what I will be doing in Helen's honor.  Trinity Church has given us the date of October 11, 2022 at 11 AM as our opportunity to gather in her memory.  Those of us who couldn't make it to Blue Hill in person will have this as an alternative.    Thank you for the YOUTUBE possibility, I will look for it.  

 

 


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