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Helene Coogan Phelan


ALMOND/HAWAII - Helene Coogan Phelan, 93, formerly of Almond, died Sunday (March 21, 2004) in Kailua, Hawaii, where she resided with her daughter since December 2003.

Born March 6, 1911, in Bryn Maur, Pa., she was the daughter of William Henry and Alice Louise Prince Coogan. She was married to Linn L. Phelan on March 28, 1942, in upper Merion, Pa., who died in 1992. She was also predeceased by three sisters, Anne Catlin, Alice Coogan and Isabel Hardie; and one brother, Richard Coogan.

Helene was a 1929 graduate of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore. Pa., continuing her education at Temple University in Philadelphia and receiving her BA degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She went on to achieve a graduate degree in social work at Bryn Maur College, finishing her education courses at Alfred University. From 1935-1940 she was a social worker at the YWCA in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the next two years was business and industrial secretary at the YWCA in Rochester, overseeing industrial workers and clubs. She relocated to Almond with Linnwood Pottery in 1946. In 1955 she became a teacher's aide at Alfred-Almond Central School. From 1956 until she retired in 1976, Helene taught English, Social Studies, ran the drama department, and became head of the English department. Many former students kept in touch for years, expressing her profound influence on their development.

She was very interested in history, owning an extensive collection of books, and was the author of seven published books on local history from the Colonial Period, the Underground Railroad, through to the 20th century. She was involved in genealogy, with direct line descendants of the Plymouth colony.

Along with her husband, she was a founding member of the Almond Historical Society and was actively involved for years; establishing and working in the archives, helping produce monographs, leading tours and giving historical speeches. Helene was a past member of the 20th Century Club of Almond and was honored by the Almond Lions Club as Senior Citizen of the Year for her contributions to the community and for serving on the Town Board for many years. Her other interests included antiques, puppets, dolls, needlepoint, sewing, gardening and many other craft activities.

Survivors include a daughter, Betsy (Stephen) Meyers of Kailua, Hawaii; two sons, Andrew Phelan of Norman, Okla., and Sean (Maureen Kelley) Phelan of Almond; five grandchildren, Matthew and Shepherd Myers, Megan and Lucas Phelan, Alison Johnson; many nieces and nephews.

At the request of Helene, there will be no prior calling hours or memorial service.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Almond Historical Society, 7 Main St., Almond.. N.Y. 14804; the Almond 20th Century Club Library, Main Street, Almond, N.Y. 14804; or a charity of the donor's choice.

Arrangements are by Robertson Funeral Home, Inc., Hornell.

from: The Evening Tribune - Hornell,NY - April, 2004
Clipped & Submitted by Donald R. Adams

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