HELENA S. MOYNIHAN

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MOYNIHAN HELENA SMITH MOYNIHAN (Age 84) Passed away peacefully at her home in Georgetown on the morning of February 16, 2014, surrounded by her three loving children. Helena was born on September 11, 1929 in New Jersey, the only child of the late Dr. Paul Preston Smith and Jean K. Brown. She grew up in Montclair and Verona, New Jersey and was a graduate of St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. Following college she worked as a journalist for the Verona Cedar Grove Times and after her children were grown as a Paris correspondent for BNA. She was a lifelong student of literature, poet and translator of the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire. Helena was married to Michael W. Moynihan on December 26, 1953. She and her beloved husband Mike made their homes in Cleveland Park, when her husband served in the Kennedy Administration; Greenwich Village, New York, in the 1960s; Chevy Chase, Maryland, where they raised their children; Paris, France for six wonderful years in a home overlooking the Notre Dame Cathedral when Mike served at the OECD; and the Outer Banks, where they enjoyed their oceanfront beach house. She is remembered for how dearly she loved her three children, Michael, Eamon and Molly and her six grandchildren, Mike, Henry, Michael III, Lily, Katherine and Johnny, and her children's spouses, Jane, Lene and Alex. Hers was a unique and pure spirit: fresh, lively, amusing, full of curiosity, and always imbued with a deep, unguarded kindness. Helena had an innate elegance and beauty, sweetness and intelligence. She filled the spaces of life with love, poetry, and beauty. A fabulous cook who burnished her skills in Paris each meal was prepared to perfection. Thanksgiving dinner took days and came to table with oysters, shrimp, multiple varieties of vegetables, pureed turnips and pears, stuffing and turkey followed by pies but even a quick luncheon snack was prepared and served elegantly. She lived fully-swimming in the ocean in the summer of her 83rd year and travelling often, to such places as France, the Galapagos, Antarctica, California, Nantucket, New York and the Outer Banks. Several years following Mike's death in 1996, she moved to Georgetown to be closer to her children and grandchildren. In Washington, Helena was active in the Women's Democratic Club, her church and numerous book clubs and other social groups. She continued her writing and had recently completed a translation of Apollinaire's Alcools which was once described as "the greatest collection of poems our century has seen'. Publication of the translation is underway. With her grandchildren, she was a regular fixture at baseball games, squash matches, concerts, plays, birthday parties and dance recitals. One of her last trips was to New York City to watch her granddaughter Katherine dance as a gingerbread in the Nutcracker. She had an encyclopedic knowledge of literature, and was always available to explain such things as the rhyme structure of a villanelle to her grandsons as they went into exams at St. Albans. She was ever loving and well loved and will be greatly missed. A service in thanksgiving for the life of Helena will be held March 3, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Washington National Cathedral in the Bethlehem Chapel. A service in thanksgiving for the life of Helena will be held March 3, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Washington National Cathedral in the Bethlehem Chapel.

Published in The Washington Post from Feb. 26 to Mar. 2, 2014
bullet Journalists
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