Monday, August 3, 2009

Remembering Helen

Helen's Knowplace avatar
Last week my friend and colleague, Frances Long, delivered the sad news that our dear 'knowmate', Helen Kershaw, had lost her battle with cancer. I've spent a good part of my days since then trying to process this news.

I have many amazing memories of Helen, from the first time I met her at the BC Computer Curriculum Consortium in Kelowna almost ten years ago, to the many encounters online over the years through various online communities and social networking sites. I have a Helen History on my hard drive -- inspiring, sensible, witty, intelligent, warm, logical, and innovative, correspondence that I plan to keep forever.

In fact, reading back I realize that she had the answers to many burning questions, but work life was so fast and furious I didn't let it all sink in during the moment. I came across this post in SCoPE. We were trying to decide the best tags to use for posting resources to delicious during SCoPE seminars:

may I suggest that you use an underscore with the specific title 'scope_' followed by the particular discussion or topic 'informal'

if each type of tag begins with scope, then all tags no matter the discussion will be presented

thus scope_informal and scope_community would bring different results but scope itself would bring both

We've revisited this tagging question numerous times in SCoPE. Today, reading back on Helen's posts I discover that she had the solution back in 2006. I just didn't let it sink in at the moment. Now those moments are altogether gone.

In 2002 Helen, Frances, and I did a presentation called "Tools to Support Community", again at a BC Computer Curriculum Consortium conference. I wasn't able to attend in person, so we decided to beam me in using my webcam. During the test run just minutes before conference delegates started to arrive at the session, we had such a giggling fit that I had to go get a wet washcloth to get my face back to normal before displaying it on a big screen. I have no idea what set us off; it was just another very special experience with Helen.

Helen's twitter bio captures her passion about work:
I am a life-long learner who enjoys helping others discover how technology can enhance their lives.
I keep reading this simple sentence, thinking how her life-long learning was cut so short, how her entire life was devoted to thinking about others, and how her concern was for how technology can enhance lives when it couldn't even assist in allowing her to live.

Helen the Knowplace Tools Potluck person. Helen the life-long learner. Helen the incredible mom and grandma. We'll miss her so much.

From the Quesnel Cariboo Observer:
Kershaw, Helen Marie
Friday, 24 Jul 2009
Helen Marie Kershaw passed away on July 24, 2009 after a lengthy illness.
Helen was born on April 27, 1948 in Rossland, B.C.
She is survived by her husband of 40 years, Alan, children Alana (Bob) Kuehn, Lori (Ken) Wawryk, Steven (Michelle) Kershaw, sister, Kim and brothers Allan, Rick and Doug, grandsons, Trevor, Matthew, Leon and Zachary and granddaughters Katie and Sarah.
Helen was predeceased by her parents Joe and Effie Rausch.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Terry Fox Foundation ( or CIBC Run for the Cure ( in Helen’s memory.
Special thank you to the doctors and nurses of Royal Columbian Hospital.
Helen was a dedicated instructor at Continuing and Adult Education at the Helen Dixon Center. The true joy of her life was spending time with her grandchildren. She will be forever loved and missed by her family.
There is no funeral at her request. A memorial tea will be held at the Senior’s Center on Wednesday, August 5, 3 pm to 5 pm.


  1. Sylvia, I think you did Helen proud with this memoriam. May she RIP.


  2. Sad to hear about Helen's passing

    Her kindness and consideration for others shone through virtually.