BORKE HELENE MYRA (FINKE)|
87, of Oakmont, entered into eternal rest Sunday, February 2, 2014, at the Presbyterian Senior Center in Oakmont. She was born on April 11, 1926 in New York, NY. She attended Julia Richmond High School and graduated from New York University with a BA in Psychology. Dr. Borke pursued studies first at the University of Ohio and then at the University of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She was a member of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Borke settled in Pittsburgh, PA where she pursued her career and raised her family. On the career side, she initially worked in clinical psychology but found that she was more interested in teaching and research. She joined the faculty of Margaret Morrison College of Carnegie Mellon University. As an Associate Professor in the Psychology Dept., she undertook essential research on the development of empathy in young children during the beginning of the 1970s. Dr. Borke was able to extend her research to include a cross-cultural component when she accompanied her husband on his teaching Fulbright scholarship to Taiwan. The results of that research, showing that children as young as three yrs. old could exhibit complex empathic behavior, was subsequently quoted in numerous psychology textbooks that included chapters on child development. After making her mark in academia, she shifted her attention to the business world, working as a management consultant for the global consulting concern, Hay Associates. She found that her background in psychology and experience as a teacher enabled her to be an effective consultant. Her clients included key companies in Pittsburgh, like Alcoa and PPG. After her youngest graduated from college, Dr. Borke once again shifted her focus and became a divorce and custody mediator. For almost 20 years, she counseled parents on how to most effectively manage their separation and make custody arrangements that were as constructive as possible for their children. Outside of her career, Dr. Borke took great pleasure in her children, New York theater, and traveling, combining them whenever possible. She had started traveling as a child, when her mother (a public school teacher) took her on a train trip to the Western United States and the Canadian Rockies. When her oldest daughter, Louise, lived in Hong Kong, she took the opportunity to visit her and make the first of two trips to China. For over 25 yrs., Dr. Borke and her youngest daughter, Susan, traveled to or met in New York for a long weekend of seeing plays and the occasional exhibit. She also traveled extensively with her companion of over 20 yrs., Dr. Herbert Barry, both in the United States and overseas. Dr. Borke is survived by her daughters, Louise I. and Susan Borke; grandchildren, Laura I. and Louis H. Sciuto and Liza G. Brecher. Helene took great pleasure in her grandchildren and friends. She spoke with those who lived out of town regularly and saw her local friends frequently. Helene particularly enjoyed the company of Dr. Barry. She will be missed. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choosing or to Oxfam America, 226 Causeway Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02114-2206. Arrangements by AUER CREMATION SERVICES OF PENNSYLVANIA, INC.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Feb. 6, 2014