OBITUARY

Helen Sonia Sink

June 22, 1963April 22, 2021

Helen Sonia Sink was born on the 22nd June 1963 at Penrith Hospital New South Wales Australia, the youngest of 2 daughters born to Edmund and Monika Sink.

She was a bright and happy child growing up on a farm, first in St Marys New South Wales Australia, where her parents raised chickens and pigs for a living and later in Londonderry New South Wales, where they also had a poultry farm. Helen loved the outdoors, animals, insects and nature and would always look for spider holes on her nature walks. This must have been where her love of spiders originated. Helen also collected stones from the garden and wherever she went in her youth. Her pockets always had stones in them. Her love of travel started with her first overseas family holiday at the age of 9 to visit relatives in Germany. They also visited France and England at the time.

From a young age Helen was always very academic. At her primary school at Londonderry she received dux of grade 6. She commenced high school at the age of 11 at Richmond High. During the next few years she became very interested in agriculture and science. She excelled in all of her academic subjects but throughout her life always remained humble with her achievements. She was very popular at school with her classmates, teachers and peers. Her sense of humour and jokes kept everyone laughing. Furthermore, she would talk to anyone. She was always interested in people and their life and stories.

From her early teens Helen had her own dress sense. She didn’t conform to the latest fashion trends. She didn’t like dresses, makeup, high heels or hairdressers. She loved her jeans and t-shirts. Black and navy were her favourite colours.

After finishing high school Helen spread her wings and moved to Armidale College in New South Wales to further her education. In 1992 she received her first degree in Rural Science, and then went on to do her Masters. The next 6 years Helen decided that Science was what she wanted to do. Opting to do another degree and again graduating with honours in Science.

During her time in Armidale Helen’s love of unusual pets developed. Unable to have dogs or cats at college she chose instead to have tortoises, rats, red back spiders (poisonous) and her beloved tarantula spiders. These pets always sparked lots of conversation with people.

Helen decided in 1993 that overseas is where she could pursue her passion for science and research and where she would have more opportunities, so in 1994, Helen left Australia for the United States to begin study at the University of California, Berkeley.

This was a huge step in her life from the small country college of Armidale in Australia to the University of California, Berkeley, who at that time had 30,000 students, more than the whole population of Armidale still today. After 2 years researching stem cell and motor neuron disease at Berkeley, Helen was offered her own laboratory in New York and had 4 staff to assist her. During this time in the laboratory she also became a published author, having her own article appear in a science journal. In 2006 Helen decided that she wanted to become a teacher and teach science. She started teaching middle school at Public School 7 in New York City. Helen’s father, Edmund Sink, passed away June 22, 1999. She is survived by her mother, Monika Sink, and her sister, Julie Weight, niece Katrina and niece Tamara.

Services

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Memories

Helen Sonia Sink

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Anne Hafford

May 14, 2021

Helen was a dear and wonderful friend when I lived with Guy in Berkeley. She was funny, charming, interesting but also had a much more vulnerable side. I had been teaching myself and Helen always quizzed me about my experiences teaching in Tower Hamlets, East London. She wanted to know if it was satisfying and what I thought about various philosophies of Education. She had read widely and knew a lot. Later when we met in New York she was already moving toward her future career. She was a joy to talk to, she was inquisitive and reflective about many of life's wonders. I was deeply saddened and shocked about her untimely death, when she had so many good years ahead. We are both full of regret that we didn't't get to see her this past Christmas when restrictions on travel meant we had to cancel our trip to New York. May she enjoy her eternity, up there with the angels. Xxx

Toni Vincent

May 5, 2021

My most amazing friend. Over 4 decades of friendship. Thrown together because we both showed up late to Mr Ramersvaal’s class in year 9 (1978). You were the smartest, funniest, kindest person I have ever met. I am so proud of everything you did and achieved and never got tired of telling you that. You were so incredibly humble, why is it now that I am finding out your awards!
I never tired of hearing your stories; be they stories of your travels or the stories of the accomplishments of your students. You were so proud of the achievements of the students in your care. I loved hearing about your students successes.
A brilliant scientist, a truly inspirational teacher.
I am going to miss you so very much. It was an absolute privilege to call you my friend.
No words can describe how absolutely devastated I am.
I love you and will continue to tell stories about our friendship and times together.
I really don’t know how to say goodbye my friend.
You’re legacy will live on. You were a champion of the underdog.
Rest in peace my dear friend. I will keep your spirit alive xxxxxxx

Heidi Pierovich

May 4, 2021

Ms. Sink and I would chat almost daily about students and travel. She cared deeply for her students and held them to her high expectations. Her afterschool club created the most amazing motorized and programmed roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and robots. She helped students and colleagues alike. Ms. Sink was an integral anchor at the school, as the teacher who held knowledge about a multitude of areas of the school. A colleague said it best, "She was the coolest teacher." Her sense of humor was epic!
She will be sorely missed. What a special teacher and human being.
Warmly,
Heidi

Amaris Melendez

May 4, 2021

Thank you, Ms. Sink for your kindness, humor, and love of all things Science! You will be missed dearly and always remembered. We are grateful for the time we shared with you and appreciate the passion and dedication you put forth each and every day.

Love and Light,
Amaris

Claude Palmer

May 4, 2021

Claude & Monica will always treasure our friendship.
Helen is a light that burns brightly in our souls.

Stacey Bergin

May 4, 2021

Helen was an amazing teacher. She brought science to life for her students in East Harlem. She was a kind and thoughtful human being. You were taken from this earth way too soon. May you be at peace. You will be greatly missed.

Therese Findlay

May 4, 2021

Helen was an enigma! She was incredibly deep yet a quick wit and kooky sense of humour .
I met her when she was studying at Armidale and living and caring for Lynn.
Helen was keen to see the world and was an amazing scientist. Most of all she was someone special who walked amongst us . She cared about her students she cared about world peace and she cared about others.
This is no way to leave us Helen . May you find peace in the next realm! Therese

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY