Helen Elizabeth (McKeen) Damschen peacefully passed away on June 28, 2016. She was born to parents, Ernest and Edythe McKeen, on August 30, 1922 in Portland, Oregon. Her childhood and teen years were spent in Northeast Portland and in 1940 she graduated from Grant High School and went on to pursue classes at the University of Oregon. Her life forever changed when she met the love of her life, Arthur J. Damschen, on the tennis courts in Laurelhurst Park. The chemistry was instant, and in 1944 Arthur and Helen got married in a ceremony on Coronado Island, where Arthur was stationed with the Navy.
Their first son, Richard, was born in Portland. Soon thereafter Helen and Arthur relocated to Palo Alto so that Arthur could pursue a master’s degree in business at Stanford University. Their other three children, Diana, Donald and Deborah, were all born in Palo Alto. Upon completion of Arthur’s studies at Stanford, the family decided to move once again, this time to Southern California. Helen’s children recall a happy childhood spent in and around the Fullerton area in California.
Helen and Arthur, always kept a fond place in their hearts for the Pacific Northwest though and when retirement came, they decided to build their dream home in Aloha, Oregon. To avoid the cold, wet Oregon winters, they kept a townhouse in La Jolla, California. Being an avid golfer, Helen spent much of her free time on the golf course. Other favorite pastimes included reading, needlepoint, traveling and rooting for her favorite football team, the San Diego Chargers. A very special tradition that both Helen and Arthur always looked forward to was their bi-annual couples’ trip with a group of fellow golfing enthusiasts. These excursions included trips to golf resorts in Hawaii and Bermuda.
After Arthur passed away in 1997, Helen continued to take trips to her beloved Hawaii. In 2008, Helen invited all of her children on a most memorable trip to Hawaii. She generously paid for all of their expenses and was content with simply relaxing by the pool and seeing everyone else enjoy themselves. That’s how Helen was, always generous, always kind and loving, putting others’ needs before her own. She remembered every birthday in the family and never forgot to send a card. Her family’s happiness is what mattered most to her and she was a constant source of encouragement and advice for both her children and grandchildren. Helen was no push-over though, and freely spoke her mind when something didn’t agree with her.
Right before her passing, Helen was celebrated by her college sorority, Chi Omega, for her 75 years of membership. This honor delighted Helen and she fondly recalled the happy afternoon she spent at the Chi Omega luncheon with her daughter, Debbie, and other Chi Omega sorority sisters. Though Helen will be greatly missed by her family, it is comforting to know that she is finally back together with Arthur, the love of her life for over 54 years. Surely the two of them are teeing off somewhere on that great course in the sky.
Helen was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Arthur J. Damschen; her brother-in-law, Barry Bekins and her nephew, Todd Bekins.
She is survived by her sister, Margaret Bekins, her children, Richard (Shannon) Damschen, Diana (Guy) Bristow, Donald (Barbara) Damschen, and Deborah (Robert) Gates; as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.