Helen M. Haugh (1930 - 2019)

  • "I lived in Heatherbloom for many years. I knew Helen and..."
  • "The last time I spoke with Helen she told me about being up..."
    - Bob Hazelton
  • "In the late 60's I had the privilege of working under her..."
  • "She learned to fly in the Civil Air Patrol and was a member..."
    - Andy Wernham
  • "Wow, what an amazing life and such a cool woman. I knew her..."
    - robert lumley-sapanski
Service Information
Rutland, VT

Helen M. Haugh June 3, 1930December 3, 2019 Born June 3, 1930, the second child of C. Hubert and Blanche Esther (Hammond) Haugh, Helen was from the start a feisty and independent girl, who grew into a strong, adventurous and generous woman. Known to us variously as Wheezie, or Minnie Haw Haw, or Aunt, she was an inspiration to all of us. Helen passed away in Rutland, Vermont on December 3, 2019. Helen Marie Haugh was born in Spring Township, Centre County, PA and lived in State College, PA for all but 3 years of her life until, at age 87 she moved to Vermont to be closer to family. She attended College Heights Grade School; went to Penn State Football games from the age of 6; and used to sled down the 'hollow' where the high school football field is now located. In 1948 Helen graduated from State College Senior High School. She went on to graduate from Penn State University in 1952 with a major in Hotel Administration. For the next two years she worked for Stouffer's Restaurants in Cleveland, Detroit and New York City. In 1955 Helen returned to State College and worked for the next 33 years at Penn State University as a supervisor in various dining halls. In State College, Helen lived with and cared for her mother Blanche in the large family home on Arbor Way, and then in an apartment in family-owned Heatherbloom Apartments where Helen managed the apartment building, doing much of the maintenance herself, from painting to plumbing. She also took over the management of Haugh Realty after her brother Hub's death. In 1954, Helen's friend Doe had a job offer to teach in Alaska but did not have a car. She convinced Helen to quit her job with Stouffer's and they drove in Helen's car to Alaska, where they rented an apartment in Chugiak. Helen fell in love with the state of Alaska and made many lifetime friends that year. She helped her friends build cabins on their homesteads. Doe taught school and Helen cooked dinners for several teachers; they both worked at a salmon cannery in Ninilchik during the summer of 1955. Helen was unable to find a job in Alaska that would allow time off for sports and travel, so she returned to State College to work at Penn State University. This left her summers free to return to Alaska, driving (often solo) up and down the Alaska highway. Initially Helen worked summers as a cook for visitors on guided Alaska wilderness trips. In the 1970's she bought five acres of land on the Kasilof River where she built her own cabin with the help of Alaska friends. With her Kasilof cabin as her summer base, she visited all the areas of Alaska from the Aleutian Islands to Barrow and Nome, as well as hiking the Chilkoot Trail. Her cabin remains in the family, entrusted to her nephew Ben Tarbell. Helen was a tomboy all her life. Her scariest childhood memory was getting locked into a building and getting out by putting plywood across two windows to climb across. She joined the girl scouts at age 10; later became a girl scout leader; worked as a camp counselor; as assistant dietician and then as head dietician at Camp Barree. Helen learned to ski at 10 years old. She skied all over the Northeastern and Western United States as well as in Europe, and said skiing was 'the closest thing to flying.' She served on the ski patrol for 23 years at Skimont (now Tussey Mountain), serving ten of those as Patrol Leader. She learned to fly in the Civil Air Patrol and was a member for many years, achieving the rank of Captain. She took part in numerous searches for lost planes over the years. Helen got her first canoe in the 1950s and paddled most of the streams and rivers in Pennsylvania and many rivers and lakes in Alaska, including a self-supported expedition canoe trip down the Yukon River. Helen loved to travel. She visited all the states in the USA, and then proceeded to visit all every continent on earth, often with an educational or service component. Helen never married nor had her own children, but she shared her love of the outdoors with her nieces and nephew, and with their children. She took them skiing, camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, sailing, and traveling, teaching them tree and plant identification by doing scavenger hunts in the woods. In 1971 she took her five teenage nieces (ages 12-16) to Alaska, driving her Dodge van through Canada, then up the Inland Passage on the ferry. She drove her nieces all over the state: camping; visiting her old friends; digging clams to cook homemade chowder; making salmonberry jelly and rose petal jelly on the camp stove; and driving back home via the Alaska highway. Helen's concession to aging was getting a thicker therm-a-rest mattresses for tent camping, and then transitioning to a camper. But she continued into her seventies teaching the joys of the outdoors to the next generation, taking nine of her nieces' children to Alaska for their own adventures over the course of several summers. Baptized as an infant at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Helen joined the church as a youth, and was a faithful member of St. Paul's for her entire life. She sang second alto in the adult Chancel Choir from 1950 until her early eighties. For years she would give rides to a blind choir member to be able to attend practice. Helen cooked for Lenten and Advent Soup and Scripture meals; helped prepare meals for families after funerals; made sure the kitchen was clean and organized; and participated in church mission trips to Central America and Alaska. In 2011 Helen was chosen as an Outstanding Visiting Alumni by the State College Area School District, for outstanding leadership in professional, volunteer and community activities. In 2014 she was given the Rose Cologne Award to honor her local community service, in recognition of her volunteer service at the Park Forest Day Nursery over the course of 25 years as a nutritional meal planner: creating menus, shopping for food, and cooking the meals to feed hundreds of children. Helen also volunteered in the community in many other capacities, including Meals on Wheels, Girl Scouts, Civil Air Patrol, and church. She said it is important to volunteer, especially in retirement. Through the generosity of Helen and Hubert Haugh, the Patton Township Open Space Referendum was able to purchase the 465 acre Haugh Family Farm at a steep discount, with half the land remaining in agricultural production, and the forested land managed according to a forest-stewardship plan to remain in its natural state in perpetuity. Helen was a one of a kind, no-nonsense, active woman who always looked you in the eye and told you what she was thinking. She was someone you could always count on and she was always there for her family, to whom she gifted a legacy of wonderful memories. Helen was pre-deceased by her father and mother C. Hubert Haugh and Blanche E. Haugh, and by her brother Hubert H. Haugh. She is survived by her sister Sylvia ("Sparks") Byrnes; by her nephew Arthur H. Tennyson; and her nieces: Phyllis (Claude) Tarbell and children Joni C. Martin, Ben (Arielle), Kevin and Christopher Tarbell; Janet (Bob) Rivard and children Regina, Scotia and James; Cathy (Frank) Harbison and children Megan, Ryan and Rawley; Heather (Peter) Gaw and children Shannon, Melanie and Sierra; Peggy (Bob) Robey and children Jonathan and Rachel; and by cousins Ian, Chris (Joan) and Stephanie (Marie) Kirkpatrick. A memorial service will be held in the next few weeks for local family, caregivers and residents of the Gables & Meadows at East Mountain in Rutland, Vermont where Helen resided the last two years of her life. A Funeral and celebration of her life will be planned in State College PA at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Spring 2020, date to be announced. Her family wishes to thank BAYADA Hospice and Home Health Care teams, At Home Senior Care and the Gables/Meadows at East Mountain staff for the compassionate respectful care they all provided her. Memorial gifts in Helen's memory in lieu of flowers may be sent to: Park Forest Preschool, 1833 Park Forest Ave., State College, PA 16803 . Funeral arrangements are by Cliffords Funeral Home Rutland, VT and Koch Funeral Home, State College PA.
Published in Centre Daily Times on Dec. 11, 2019
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