2 entries
  • "To Helen's Family and Friends - I know she will be missed..."
    - Kathy Hasse
  • "To Helen's family, my sympathy. Helen was instrumental in..."
    - Kathy Aust
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Helen Lorraine (Gowans) Duran, 67, longtime resident of Arlington, VA, passed away suddenly, at home, on Saturday, January 19, 2013. She was born in Grafton, WV on July 30, 1945; the daughter of the late Martha (Debendarfer) Gowans and James Naismith Gowans, both of Grafton, West Virginia. She is survived by her brother Harold Gowans and wife Debbie of Punta Gorda, FL; her sister Beverly Bourne of Grafton, WV; and nieces Rebecca Hatch and Martha Gowans and great niece Grace, all of Florida. She also leaves behind a large extended family, many close friends and numerous acquaintances who will miss her greatly.
Helen graduated from Grafton High School, attended West Virginia University and graduated from Clarksburg Business College. She immediately came to Washington to join President Johnson's War on Poverty where she worked both at the White House and the Office of Economic Opportunity. When the Headstart program was transferred to the then Department of Health, Education and Welfare, she came with it. In the 1980's, she joined the Administration on Aging, which was a part of the same Cabinet-level department now called the Department of Health and Human Services. She remained with AoA until her retirement in 2002. While at the Administration on Aging, she became the founding President of the DHHS Chapter of the National Treasurer's Employee's Union, the Union which represented all professional workers in the Department below supervisory level, a position she held until retiring. As Union President, she was a highly skilled negotiator on behalf of each and every employee regardless of their position. She was also responsible for bargaining with management for so many of employee's rights and benefits which we now take for granted such as flex time, compressed time, credit hours and teleworking.
A private burial service will be held in West Virginia later this spring.

Published in The Washington Post from Feb. 24 to Feb. 26, 2013