HELGA ASHKENAZE
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ASHKENAZE HELGA INGE SCHOMAKER BURRELL-SAHL ASHKENAZE Helga Inge Schomaker Burrell-Sahl Ashkenaze died peacefully Sunday, March 18, 2012 at Spanish Oaks Retreat and Hospice in Savannah, GA, of complications related to Alzheimer's Disease. Helga was born in Bogota, Colombia on November 8, 1940 and raised in Cucuta, Colombia. She came to the United States in the 1960's to continue advanced language studies at George Washington University. Once Helga began working in the U.S., she chose to make Washington, DC (and later, Potomac, MD) her home. Helga was proud to become a United States citizen in America's Bicentennial year, 1976. Helga's bilingual (Spanish and German) childhood, secondary education in French-speaking schools, and college language majors (English among them) in Zurich all contributed to her lifelong career as an interpreter and simultaneous translator. For decades the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations, and countless foreign and domestic governmental and private organizations relied upon Helga's expert verbal and written translation expertise with material that was intricate, complicated, and often classified. In 1974 Helga began working for the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT) in Washington, DC, where she remained until she retired, 20 years later. Helga's world travels led her to value deeply the unique qualities of people from vastly different cultures, religions, and backgrounds. She was "thinking globally" way ahead of her time. After retiring from INTELSAT, Helga continued accepting translation assignments, even after she moved to Hilton Head, S.C. in 1997. In the fall of 2004 Helga moved to the Seattle, WA, area, where she lived until the spring of 2011, when she moved into memory care in Savannah. Helga had an extraordinarily generous and loving heart. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends. Survivors include her stepdaughter, Leslie Burrell-Sahl Nissen (Andreas) of Savannah, stepson Geoffrey Burrell-Sahl of Baltimore, MD, grandson Sam Prevatt of New York, NY, granddaughter Colleen Nissen of Jupiter, FL. Also mourning Helga are Bernard M. Ashkenaze, of Lynnwood, WA, Elizabeth Ashkenaze Richmond of Lake Forest Park, WA, Jonathan Ashkenaze of San Antonio, TX, and a host of friends and loved ones around the world. Helga was predeceased by her first husband, Jaime Burrell-Sahl of Potomac, Maryland. Helga's ashes will be interred with Jaime at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for donations in memory of Helga to the Alzheimer's Association or to the Humane Society.Helga was predeceased by her first husband, Jaime Burrell-Sahl of Potomac, Maryland. Helga's ashes will be interred with Jaime at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for donations in memory of Helga to the Alzheimer's Association or to the Humane Society.


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Published in The Washington Post on May 6, 2012.
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May 6, 2012
My sincere condolences to Helga's family and friends. I had the great pleasure to be a colleague at Intelsat for a number of years and was always struck above all else by her human kindness. May her memory be a blessing, and may her soul rest in peace.
David Connick
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