Helen T. Slater

Helen T. (Flavin) Slater of Newtown passed away Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at Manor Care Health Services in Yardley. She was 87.

Helen was an administrative assistant in the legal and financial professions for many decades, finally entering full-time retirement at age 85.

An early member of the Philadelphia Girls Rowing Club, Helen won three Schuykill Navy racing medals for quad sculls in 1948 and 1949. Helen’s love and wide knowledge of the arts extended to literature, theatre, the symphony and opera. In 1984, she earned an Associate degree (AA) from Miami-Dade College.

Helen’s life was, above all, a life of service. During her 32 years in Miami, Fla., she taught and helped run CCD (Sunday school) programs at various parishes. In the 1980s, she helped to found the Elier Dacal Foundation, providing assistance to people living with AIDS. Since moving to Bucks County in 1992, she was an active parishioner at St. John the Evangelist Church. Among her several key roles there, she served in the RCIA and as a Eucharistic Minister. She volunteered for two agencies providing rides to the doctor for those in need, and served as instructor for Welcoming the Stranger, providing free ESL classes to Syrian refugee families, and immigrants from numerous lands. Despite declining health, in her final months residing at the Friends’ Home in Newtown, she continued to give her time reading aloud to her visually impaired neighbors.

Born May 10, 1929, in Philadelphia, Helen was the daughter of the late James and Margaret Davitt Flavin; and sister of the late Betty Ford, Kit Field, Peggy Jones, and Jim Flavin. She is survived by loving son and son-in-law, John Slater and Patrick Wang of Vancouver, Canada. She’ll be long remembered as matriarch to a vast and adoring family of nieces and nephews, their children and grandchildren, with an equally vast network of loving friends, fellow parishioners, and co-workers.

As close as sisters were Helen’s most intimate friends, the late Mimi Smith, Virginia Bagley, and Leda Pearl, who helped Helen succeed as a single, working mom in Miami, and her two closest surviving friends, Ann Damron and Sue Torelli, who was by her side almost daily in recent years. The late Harry Starr Slater, father of Helen’s son John, always held a place of love in her heart.

Helen’s family will receive friends from 10 a.m. until her funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Friday, May 5, at St. John the Evangelist Church, 752 Big Oak Road, Morrisville, PA 19067. Her interment will follow in Our Lady of Grace Cemetery in Langhorne.

In lieu of flowers, her family requests donations in her name to Welcoming the Stranger at www.welcomingthestranger.org