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Helen Buggert

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Helen Buggert Obituary
Helen Elizabeth Woodward Buggert, born Aug. 18, 1921, in Appalachicola, Fla., died suddenly on May 28, 2012, with her husband of 66 years, Robert Buggert, at her side. She was the much-loved daughter of Joseph Edward Woodward, a Methodist minister, and Helen Parkhill Woodward. She grew up in northern Florida with her older brother, Josephy Parkhill Woodward, and graduated from Florida Southern College in 1942 with a major in Biology and a minor in Spanish. At Florida Southern, she was president of her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and remained a faithful and active alumna of both Florida Southern and her sorority. After college, she joined the American Red Cross and was assigned to a hospital in Georgia where she met her husband. They married on May 12, 1946, and moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., where Bob pursued his Ph.D. in musicology and Helen supported them by teaching fourth grade in Willow Run, Mich. She had a long drive to school and it was her first experience with snow and living in the northern part of the United States. Bob's academic career then took them to Wichita, Kan.; Norman, Okla.; Boston, Mass.; and finally to DeKalb, Ill., for 35 years. In every community, Helen was active in the University Women's Club, the League of Women Voters, and a variety of nonprofit organizations working to improve the lives of children and their families while raising their children, Barbara and Richard. Her community service work was recognized with numerous awards and she continued philanthropic support of a number of national and international charities that addressed issues of social justice and poverty. She was a private piano instructor and kept up her own practice of classical repertoire. She also supported Bob's work, entertaining faculty from art, music and theatre departments with great hospitality and incredible organization. Helen enjoyed the wide variety of friends and colleagues she met throughout her life. She loved attending symphony and chamber music concerts, visiting art museums and going to the movies (she vividly remembered that as the preacher's daughter, she only had to pay a nickel to go to the movies on Saturday while everyone else had to pay a dime). She and Bob traveled when he retired and visited many countries in Europe (including being in West Berlin when the Berlin Wall came down), Russia, China, and South America. She kept physically active, playing golf, and was an early practitioner of yoga which she kept up religiously. Her love of education and learning was unstinting. When Helen and Bob moved to Las Cruces, N.M. in 1996, she began taking Spanish lessons at the age of 75 and practiced her speaking with her granddaughters who also learned Spanish in school. While in Las Cruces, she continued her volunteer work with the League of Women Voters, Jardiin de los Ninos, Pan American Roundtable, and the Child Advocacy Program. She was an avid reader and even challenges like her bout with macular degeneration did not keep her from reading the latest book for her book club, the newspaper every day and the New York Times on Sunday. She followed national and local politics and was very proud of the election of Barack Obama in 2008. Helen was an active member of the Good Samaritan Retirement Village where she knew most everyone's interests and life stories. She truly loved people and was exceptionally compassionate. Helen is survived by her true partner and love in life, Bob; her two children, Barbara (husband, David Kimport) and Richard; three grandchildren, Katrina (husband, Matthew Villeneuve), Rebecca and Susie Kimport; and a great-grandchild, Mathilde Woodward Kimport, in whom she delighted throughout the last 11 months. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made in her name to Good Samaritan Society/Las Cruces Village.
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on May 29, 2012
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