02.13.17

Helen Dondy

Helen Dondy, retired social worker and a lifelong champion of social justice, died on February 1, 2017, at the age of 95. Born in NYC, Helen was the first, and only, member of her family to attend college, subsequently graduating from the Columbia University School of Social Work. Her parents, immigrants from Poland/Lithuania, imbued her with a deep sense of responsibility and caring for those less fortunate. Her first protest march was against Franco, during the Spanish Civil War, and only two weeks ago she supported her daughters and granddaughters, as they marched in Washington DC, San Francisco and Toronto, protesting the transgressions of the current administration. Her professional career included being executive director of the White Plains Head Start programs, where she worked tirelessly to create quality programs for young children and their families. Helen’s marriage to Emanuel Dondy, a Juilliard trained pianist, who predeceased her by 35 years, filled their home in Larchmont, NY, with love, music and books. After his death, she continued to live a life filled with travel, art, music, dance, theater, and other intellectual pursuits, passing on her love of the arts to her adored granddaughters, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Helen possessed a lively, dry sense of humor; a passion for justice; a ferocious work ethic and a deep and abiding love for her family and friends. She was a role model for all of us who loved her. Although she leaves an empty space in our lives, the memory of her will forever occupy a warm place in our hearts. She is survived by her daughters Lise (Bill Kaplan) and Amy (James Allen Brewer); granddaughters Polly (David Gaskell) and Hannah (Adam Bartini) and great grandsons, Simon and Emmett. Donations in Helen’s memory can be made to the ACLU, an organization of which she was a proud member for over 50 years.

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