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Helen G. Meyer

Mt. San Antonio Gardens resident Helen Grove Meyer died on July 22, 2011 at age 92.

Born on August 24, 1918 in New Haven, Connecticut, Mrs. Meyer was one of 2 children born to Frank and Caroline Grove. Her father was a tool and die maker for the Lionel Company, and her mother belonged to the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and staunchly supported the women’s suffrage movement. 

Along with her sister, Elinor, Mrs. Meyer grew up in New Haven and attended local schools.  She went on to graduate from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut in 1938, the first person in her family to attain a college degree. 

Following a brief career in business, she met Henry Cord Meyer, a post doctorate fellow at Yale University, and they were married on Valentine’s Day 1942 at the Yale University Chapel.  When Mr. Meyer was recruited by William Donovan to serve as a commissioned officer in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), Mrs. Meyer followed as a civilian employee. 

Mustering out in 1945, Mrs. Meyer and her husband went back to Yale for a year of post-doctoral studies before moving to California.  Mr. Meyer became a professor of modern European history at Pomona College while Mrs. Meyer gave birth to their first child, Henry Cord Meyer, III, in 1946.  The family grew with the birth of Christopher Grove Meyer in 1950, and Jane Allison Meyer in 1952. 

While Mr. Meyer honed his skills in teaching and research, Mrs. Meyer became active in community causes and was one of the founding members of the League of Women Voters of Claremont.  Actively involved in both college and community issues, she became a local leader for change.

In 1963, Mrs. Meyer’s husband was appointed as the founding chair of the history department at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), one of the first 25 employees at the institution, which meant great challenges ahead. Mr. Meyer retired from UCI in 1984 and served as professor emeritus until 1999.  One of his research subject interests that fell beyond the scope of his professional work was rigid, lighter than air aircraft (Zeppelins).

The Meyer family moved to Newport Beach in 1963, and Mrs. Meyer began organizing a local chapter of the League of Women Voters. Later, she became an instrumental member of the Friends of the Irvine Coast, spending over 20 years battling the Irvine Company to preserve coastal open space. During this busy era, Mrs. Meyer and her husband still found time to travel extensively.  When she wanted to go to Turkey and the Middle East, Mr. Meyer demurred. She immediately began organizing a tour group and successfully made the journey. 

In 2000, Mrs. Meyer and her husband retired to Mt. San Antonio Gardens in Pomona/Claremont. They experienced profound pride in their children: Christopher Meyer, the recently retired City Manager of Fullerton; Dallas Celecia (formerly Jane Allison Meyer), an advertising executive; and the late Henry Cord Meyer, III, a decorated Vietnam War veteran. 

Mrs. Meyer is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Christopher Meyer and Janny Catlin Meyer; and by her daughter and son-in-law, Dallas and Robert Celecia. She was preceded in death by her husband, Henry Cord Meyer, in 2001; and by her firstborn son, Henry Cord Meyer, III, in 2004.

A celebration of Mrs. Meyer’s life will take place from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 17, 2011 in the Gallery Room at Mt. San Antonio Gardens in Pomona/Claremont.  Please contact her son Chris at Chrismeyer100@sbcglobal.net for further information. There will be no internment, as Mrs. Meyer has willed her remains to the Loma Linda University Medical School. 

“Helen lived a wonderful life, during a formative period of our nation,” noted Mrs. Meyer’s children and their spouses. “We love and miss her. We hope to join with you in the near future to celebrate the special person that she was.”

Memorial donations may be made to Heifer International, www.Heifer.org.

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