Helen Seubert died at her home on Feb. 13, age 100.
Helen was born to Ukrainian immigrant parents on Feb. 12, 1919. The family moved in 1923 from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, to Blackwell. Here she experienced some of the signal events of the twentieth century, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and the U.S. entry into World War II.
Helen graduated from Blackwell High School in 1937, where she earned a letter in debate. Following school she attended Northern Oklahoma College and worked in the photography studio of Jacques Moreau. At the hand of this master portraitist she learned techniques that served her later as a journalist.
It was also during this time that Helen was involved in street preaching alongside the nuns and her mentor and friend Father Stephen Leven (later Bishop Leven). Father Leven’s initiative was inspired by the Catholic Evidence Guild which was founded to provide accurate information about the Roman Catholic Church and to bring Catholic Church members to the public to talk about their practice and their faith.
When the U.S. entered World War II Helen wanted to be of service. She (as well as several close friends) went to Washington, D.C. to work in the war effort. She worked for the Army Corps of Engineers, then the Secret Service. She also volunteered with the Red Cross in Washington hospitals. Wanting to be more directly involved, Helen asked the Red Cross for an assignment overseas “as close to the front as possible.” She was sent to Guadalcanal where she served at 20th Station Hospital, where men were sent after triage at the improvised field hospitals.
Following the war, Helen attended the University of Oklahoma, married, gave birth to a daughter, and returned to live in Blackwell.
In 1961, Helen began a long career at the Blackwell Journal-Tribune. She produced society pages, obituaries, news reporting and feature articles, taking photos with her trusty Yashica and doing the darkroom work as well. For a long time she also wrote a short “Prayer for the Day.”
Her life’s work was to serve the community and its people through her reporting. She was dedicated to promoting the well-being of Blackwell schools, hospital, charities, businesses and industries, and other institutions. Helen’s robust and personalized “Homecoming” issues are legendary, as well as her coverage of the Kay County Fair.
Helen’s interest in people and a great curiosity about the world were the foundation for the production of wonderful feature stories, her favorite kind of writing.
The Journal-Tribune won many awards from the Oklahoma Press Association during Helen’s years there, and she was recognized individually for her writing and photography. In 1994 the paper won OPA’s prestigious Sequoyah Award for best newspaper in its size category. In 2003, the year of her retirement, Helen received the statewide “Friend of Education” award.
She was a consummate professional, but always humble and a team player. She was a mentor to many, both within her profession and outside it.
Helen was devoted to family as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and aunt, and to her many, many friends of all ages and all walks of life.
She is survived by her daughter Millie Seubert, her niece and family Patricia White, Michael White (Julee), Janet Clement (Ron) and Ameira Al-Mutari.
She was predeceased by her parents John and Emilia Nesbit, brother Peter Nesbit, husband Alfred W. Seubert, and a nephew, Lyle Nesbit.
A Rosary will be held Thursday, February 21st at 7 pm at Roberts and Sons Funeral Home. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, February 22nd at 10:30 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Blackwell. Burial will follow in the Blackwell Cemetery
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the St. Joseph Catholic Church Altar Society (P.O. Box 578 , Blackwell, OK 74631) or to Libraries of Love (c/o Beth Amundson, 1405 Walsh Drive, Round Rock, TX 78681).
On-line condolences can be made at www.robertsandsonfh.com.