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Helen Jane Gurvich

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Helen Jane Gurvich Obituary
Helen Jane Gurvich

Helen Jane (Lindquist) Gurvich, age 88, passed away peacefully at home on April 18, 2013, surrounded by her loving family and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Max Gurvich.

Born in Minneapolis, MN on January 20, 1925, she was the 7th of 9 children. She followed her older sister, Katharine, to Seattle after high school graduation, and studied at the University of Washington while she worked for the US Navy at Sand Point Naval Air Base. She was athletic and adventurous, enjoyed skiing, speed skating and sailing, and met Max while sailing with friends on Lake Washington. After marrying in 1953 they raised three daughters in Seattle and were together deeply involved in many civic, arts and philanthropic organizations in the region.

Helen was passionate about experiencing and promoting contemporary art. She served on the boards of the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Chamber Music Society, 911 Media Arts, Center on Contemporary Arts, On the Boards, and The Henry Art Gallery. She spearheaded several arts exhibitions and events in Seattle, including Earthworks, Laurie Anderson's first performance in the region, James Turrell's Avaar installation, and a provocative installation for Dennis Oppenheim that included fireworks (she loved firecrackers!) She was presented with the Anne Focke Arts Leadership Award in 2009, and the Outstanding Philanthropic Family award in 2004.

Helen was a force of nature. She fairly shimmered with energy and forward momentum. Everyone who met her remembered her, mostly with fondness and always with a bit of awe. She was a spectacular cook, and whether hosting 150 people for Opening Day or a small dinner perfectly prepared at home, she was the "hostess with the mostest." She outlived every one of her siblings through sheer determination and grit, and because she so enjoyed her children and grandchildren and wanted to keep having dinner with them as often as she could. Her favorite place of all was her little cabin on Whidbey Island, gathering her best friends for bridge tournaments (playing fiercely for nickel stakes) and crab feeds and wild blackberry pie for family, it was the place where she felt most content and relaxed.

Helen is survived by her daughters and sons-in-law: Lisa and Roger Anderson and their children Tia and Max; Tina and Chip Ragen and their son Ian; and Andrea and Jamie Lieberman and their children Jace and Julia. She is also survived by many beloved nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews and sisters-in-law.

The family extends its thanks to Helen's wonderful doctors, especially Bob Kitchell, and to her extraordinary caregiver, Joe Enriquez, who has made these past months and years so much easier and more enjoyable for Helen and everyone around her.

A private burial will take place this week. Remembrances can be made to Seattle Chamber Music Society, Seattle Art Museum, 911 Media Arts, Northwest Harvest, Jewish Family Services, or any other arts organization of your choice.
Published in The Seattle Times from Apr. 21 to Apr. 24, 2013
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