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Helen Shanbrom


1926 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Helen Shanbrom Obituary
May 1926 - March 2017 Helen Shanbrom, respected philanthropist, highway safety advocate, wife, mother and grandmother, died on March 22, 2017 at her home of 54 years in Tustin, CA. She was 90 years old. Helen was born in Rochester, N.Y., in 1926. It was there that she met the love of her life, Edward. They married in 1946 and moved to Buffalo where their first two children, Suzy and Bob, were born. In 1952, she and her growing family traveled to Panama, where Ed completed his residency at Gorgas Hospital. Not wanting to cause concern to her parents, she did not tell them that she was pregnant at the time, but soon after gave birth to her third child, Bill. Upon returning from Panama, Helen settled in Arcadia, California where her fourth child, David, was born. A few years later, the family moved to Tustin where Helen was busy raising her family while still finding time to be active in such community activities as Little League, Boy Scouts, PTA, Claire Trevor School of Arts, UCI Dean's Council, Pacific Symphony, Pacific Chorale, the Florence Crittenton Services and the Assistance League of Santa Ana. She helped establish the Orange County Philharmonic Society and was a founding member of the UCI Friends of the Library. After tragedy struck in 1986--her youngest son, David, was killed by a speeding truck-- she began a new chapter in her life, transforming from a stay-at-home Mom in an empty nest, to a community activist, working tirelessly and with great effectiveness to improve highway safety. Her family was very proud of her. For her efforts, she was named a "Giraffe" by the Giraffe Hero Project, an organization that awards "compassionate risk-takers who are largely unknown, people who have the courage to stick their necks out for the common good." In 1990, Senator John Seymour chose Helen as the 35th District Woman of the Year saying "If there is a single greatest resource that I have had relative to all of the truck legislation I have carried, it's one involved citizen named Helen Shanbrom. She exemplifies what the average person can do." Helen's diligent advocacy resulted in the passing of seven different truck safety measures, all of which remain law today. Later in life, she and Ed received numerous commendations for their generous contributions to their community. These include the UCI Medal, UCI's most prestigious award, the Golden Baton from the Philharmonic Society of Orange County for extraordinary contribution to the Arts, the Orange County Community Foundation's Excellence in Philanthropy Award, and the Orange County Arts Award. Helen will be remembered as a remarkable woman of intelligence, style and beauty; an activist, a world traveler, a poet and lover of poetry, who created much love and laughter with her ready wit and sincere caring. The Shanbrom Family would like to express their gratitude for the love and kindness bestowed on Helen by her caregivers, who helped her live the final years of her life in the comfort of her own home. Helen will be greatly missed by her devoted family. She is survived by daughter Susan Krabbe (Moe), sons Bob (Xiaoping) and Bill (Jill), and grandchildren Corey, Evan, Maylene and Daniel Shanbrom. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ed, in 2012, and her son, David. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Orange County Community Foundation.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 11 to Apr. 16, 2017
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