Our mighty mom, Helen Tulin McClurg Rohloff, died June 8, 2013, in Boulder, Colorado. She was 94. Born May 28, 1919 in Ashtabula, Ohio to Finnish immigrants George and Hildur Tulin, Helen lived a remarkable and at times difficult life. A woman ahead of her times, Helen was a fighter who regularly faced and overcame stiff odds. She graduated from Ohio State University with a journalism degree in 1943 at a time when few women attended college. She married Donald McClurg in 1943 and had three children with him: Robin, Douglas, and Andrew, all of whom grew up to be lawyers. Douglas predeceased her in 2002. She divorced in 1967 and later married Fred Rohloff, a Hollywood police detective, for a short time. Divorced at mid-life with few resources, she began a distinguished career as a journalist to support herself and her family. As an investigative reporter for the Hollywood Sun-Tattler, she stirred muck wherever she found it. Her popular Here at Home columns imparted wisdom and humor, often in stories about her children. A poignant account of her son Douglas's horrific experiences in Vietnam was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She later worked for the Stuart News, Amarillo Globe-Times and Florida Times-Union, and taught journalism at the University of Florida. She received many awards for her writing and was nominated for a second Pulitzer. Helen was an alcoholic who took her last drink in 1953. Her lifelong participation as a speaker and mentor in Alcoholics Anonymous helped many people down a difficult road. She stayed true to herself until the end. Proud of her Finnish heritage, her indomitable will defined the Finnish term sisu, which translates to strength of will, determination and perseverance.
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Published in Sun-Sentinel on June 19, 2013