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Helen Zarifes Hansen

1934 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences Gallery
Helen Zarifes Hansen

Helen Zarifes Hansen was born in Long Beach, California, the daughter of Vivian and Peter D. Zarifes. From an early age, Helen demonstrated a love of family, including her Greek heritage. Her parents were immigrants who emphasized the importance of family life, faith, education and a strong work ethic. Helen embodied these values, along with her passions for community service, mentorship and athletics. She thrived in school, graduating from Long Beach Polytechnic High School, as did her late brother, the Honorable James P. Zarifes. Helen went on to attend Stanford University where she was elected Student Body Vice President, and earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and Master's in Education. After college, Helen embarked on a 38 year career in the Long Beach Unified School District, where she was known for her strong commitment to students and her pioneering spirit. She progressed from the classroom to administration to become Principal of Lakewood High School, LBUSD Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent of High Schools, among many other fulfilling roles. Helen married Logan Stephens Hansen in 1959. Together they cultivated a strong family life while sharing a love of their children, travel, the outdoors, and Stanford football. They enjoyed cycling, hiking and walking tours in the US, Europe and Asia. Helen was a devoted civic leader, serving in a variety of leadership positions, including Director, Vice Chair and Secretary, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, President, Long Beach Water Commission, and Commissioner, California Postsecondary Education Committee. Her philanthropic endeavors included Assistance League of Long Beach CAMEO Auxiliary, Soroptimist International, Long Beach Day Nursery, Arthritis National Research Foundation, and Camp Fire Long Beach, among others. She is survived by her children, Bill and Peri, as well as a niece, nephews and godchildren. Memorial Services will be held at 7:00 pm, Friday and Funeral Services at 9:00 am, Saturday both at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 5761 E. Colorado St., Long Beach. The burial will be on Saturday at Forest Lawn Cypress. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to any of the philanthropies mentioned above, Stanford University Fund for Undergraduate Education, or the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church of Long Beach Building Fund. Please sign the guest book at
Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram from June 17 to June 21, 2014
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