Dr. Helen R. Godfrey

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The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point community mourns the passing of one of its best-known and most respected administrators, Dr. Helen R. Godfrey. Helen died Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, at the age of 77.

Godfrey served the university for 33 years in a number of roles. When she retired as assistant chancellor for student affairs in 1999, she left us with this comment: "I loved every minute of it." In June of that same year, she was named assistant chancellor emerita.

In addition to the position she held at retirement, she served in roles that included associate dean of students, executive director of co-curricular services, assistant chancellor of university relations and assistant chancellor of student development.

"We've all lost a dear, dear friend. Helen Godfrey was known for her tireless efforts to enhance the learning environment at UWSP, and she also served as a tremendous ambassador for this institution in the community and the state," said Chancellor Bernie Patterson. "Anyone who knew anything about this university for the past several decades knew and admired Helen Godfrey. She literally gave much of her life to UWSP, and it will forever be a better place because of that dedication."

Godfrey's list of accomplishments at UWSP is lengthy. Here are but a few of her accomplishments:

? Founded and provided ongoing support for the University Child Learning and Care Center

? Achieved national affiliation for Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi (freshman and senior honor societies)

? Chartered and hosted UW-Stevens Point's Board of Visitors

? Advocated and volunteered for Special Olympics Wisconsin at UW-Stevens Point

? Was a charter member and president of the Women's Athletic Foundation, a support group for all UWSP women's athletics, founded in 1980.

Her long-standing support of the center led to its renaming as the Helen R. Godfrey University Child Learning and Care Center in 2002.

Godfrey also participated in Friends of Treehaven, was involved with the Suzuki Foundation, led two semesters abroad to Great Britain and served as a member of the Friends of the Natural History Museum.

"Helen's accomplishments speak for themselves, but she would tell you that one of her greatest pleasures was to help students mature and develop through their years at UW-Stevens Point, then to watch them become successful world citizens," said Chancellor Patterson. Godfrey was also proud of helping to end curfews for women in the 1960s and strengthening the student development model at UW-Stevens Point.

In the community, she was a charter member of the Stevens Point Community Foundation, now the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin. She was a charter member of the YMCA Foundation Board, a member of the board and executive committee of Camp Manitowish — YMCA, a director of Bethany Home, Waupaca and F&M Bank-Central, and an early member of the Portage County Business Council. She was also a former trustee of St. Paul United Methodist Church, a member of the Portage County Library Foundation, a former member of the Monteverdi Master Chorale Board, a founder of the Chamber of Commerce — Communiversity Committee, a member of Kiwanis and former treasurer of Zonta International.

For her accomplishments in higher education, Godfrey has been recognized by the Academy of Letters and Science, Wisconsin Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Mid-America Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel and the University Child Learning and Care Center.

A native of Appleton, she earned degrees from UW-Madison and Michigan State University. Before coming to UW-Stevens Point in the mid-60s, she was assistant dean of women and director of residence halls at Ohio State University.

She loved to travel both professionally and personally, having led several student semester abroad groups. She participated in UWSP Adventure Tours, traveling to Ireland, Scotland and Costa Rica.

Helen enjoyed her lifetime connection with her relatives and friends from the Waupaca area. Her cottage on Round Lake on the Chain O' Lakes was very special to her.

She was a strong supporter of Wisconsin Athletics, faithfully following the Wisconsin Badgers, the Green Bay Packers, the Milwaukee Brewers and UWSP Pointers.

Helen is survived by her brother, James Godfrey of Waupaca; nieces, Anne Godfrey and Susan (Rolf) Wulfsberg; nephews, Thomas (Liz) Godfrey and Michael Godfrey; and a very dear friend, Kathy Bender of Antigo.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Edwin and Ruth Godfrey; her brother, the Rev. Samuel Godfrey; and two sisters-in-law.

A memorial service will be at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Stevens Point with the Rev. Howard Hintzman officiating. A memorial visitation will be held at the church one hour prior to the memorial service.

Memorials can be directed to YMCA Camp Manito-Wish, P.O. Box 246, Boulder Junction, WI 54512; or to St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 600 N. Wilshire Blvd., Stevens Point, WI 54481, in the name of Dr. Helen R. Godfrey.

The Holly Funeral Home of Waupaca is assisting the family with arrangements.

Published in Stevens Point Journal on Sept. 21, 2011
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