COLUMBUS – Helen Anne Hazlebeck Watkins, born May 8, 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio, died April 20, 2020 in Columbus. Survived by daughters, Cathianne Watkins (Jeff Fisher) of Little Rock and Carolee (Dan) Noonan of Columbus; and grandchildren, Will and Sam Fisher, Ben and Cordelia Noonan. Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Daryl Wesley “Dan” Watkins, Jr. in 2018; and her parents, William and Helen (Beltz) Hazlebeck. She was one of eight siblings and has one surviving brother, David Hazlebeck (Patricia) of Pennsylvania.
In her hometown of Portsmouth, Helen was active in Girl Scouts and a local teen board; she danced, played the piano and sang, worked at Marting’s Department Store, was a top student and avid reader. She spoke fondly of her hard-working mother who was a teacher at a time when most married did not work outside the home. She attended church and the orchestra with her father and siblings. Helen vividly recalled the Ohio River flood of 1937 flood and people helping one another. After attending classes at the Portsmouth branch of Ohio University, Helen moved to main campus in Athens and became immersed in campus life while maintaining a perfect GPA. She was elected President of the Independent Women’s Association and developed life-long friendships. At OU she earned her degree in business and marketing in 1951, and met her husband of 63 years, Dan.
Early years of married life included time apart while Dan served in Korea and Helen returned to Portsmouth where she helped her mother care for her father and she returned to work at Martings. Upon his return, Dan’s career as a civil engineer took them to many places; in 1960 they settled in Dayton, Ohio. They moved to their home in Kettering in 1962 where they remained until 2010 when they moved to Columbus to be closer to family.
Helen was an avid volunteer, taking on leadership roles in the Buckeye Trails Girl Scout Council, Fairmont Presbyterian Church, regional Presbyterian organizations, and the Lathrem Senior Center. She fostered dogs for the Society for the Improvement of Condition of Stray Animals (SISCA) and adopted many stray cats. She enjoyed singing in choirs including the Mother’s Singers, Fairmont Church, Kettering Senior Show Choir, and the Wesley Glen Vespers Choir. Helen valued her work and friendships at Kronauge Insurance where she worked until her retirement at age 80!
Helen’s final gift was to be a part of the anatomical gift program at Wright State University. Memorial gifts may be directed to the Society for the Improvement of Condition of Stray Animals at www.sicsa.org/give 8172 Washington Church Rd., Washington Twp, OH 45458; Fairmont Presbyterian Church at http://fairmontchurch.org/stewardship-and-giving/ 3705 Far Hills Avenue, Dayton, Ohio 45429; or Girl Scouts of Western Ohio at https://www.gswo.org/en/donate/donate.html 4930 Cornell Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45242.