April 7, 1924 – June 19, 2020
Helen Gertrude Papell, 96, passed away peacefully on June 19, 2020. She was born on April 7, 1924, in Brooklyn, New York, to Anna and Henry Sobel. Helen was predeceased by her husband, Robert (Bob) Papell, and her siblings Selma, Bernard (Bernie), and Leonard (Lenny).She is survived by her son, David Papell, his wife, Bonnie Weisman, and their children, Darci and Marisa Papell.
Helen graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Missouri with degrees in English and Philosophy. She spent a year teaching in a one room schoolhouse in Owl's Bend, Missouri, where she was honored by her former students at age 80 during a return visit to show her granddaughters a formative event in her life. She met her husband, Bob, at Mizzou and they returned to New York following their graduation.
After working as a legal secretary, Helen returned to school and obtained a Master's in Library Science from Pratt Institute. She worked at Brooklyn Public Library as a Children's and Branch Librarian and retired as a Supervising Librarian. She published over 200 poems, mostly on feminist Jewish topics. She authored two books of poetry: "Talking with Eve, Leah, Hagar, and Miriam" and "Caretaker's Mask” and contributed ten poems to "Sarah's Daughters Sing." She was an active member of The Village Temple and the West End Synagogue and attended many Midrash classes.
In 2012, Helen moved to Houston to be closer to her family. She resided at Brookdale in West University where she made many new friends, was an active book club participant and avid reader, and enjoyed Shabbat services performed by Rabbi Marcy Green. She frequented restaurants with her granddaughters, enjoyed Houston's museums and libraries, and was an enthusiastic participant in political discussions.
A private graveside service was held, and was officiated by Rabbi Green.
Donations in her name may be made to the AniMeals program at Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston.
- Interfaith Ministries Animeals Program