Memories of Helen

Helen touched so many people's lives in her 92 years.

Scroll down to see the memories submitted so far.

A memorial gathering will be held on March 30 in Berkeley.

We invite you to share your memories of her here.

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(not published)

Deep gratitude for Camp Roosevelt

I attended Camp Roosevelt from 1950-1954 (possibly 55-56) ages 9-14 )?). My first year was the summer after my father suddenly died. Camp Roosevelt opened me to so much - I often reflect on my experiences there - swimming in the pool, water ballet, teaching the littler kids to swim (we got patches to sew on our bathing suits), the canteen where I loved to 'work' and fill orders; horseback riding with Kay, Harry Handler, singing in the mess hall - lots and lots of singing paper bag dramatics, fencing,International Week, Friday night dances, Sunday night movies ("The Day The Earth Stood Still"), and 10 day pack trips (and hiking trips) into the mountains (Squirrel Card at Taquitz, and Mt. San Jac) - walking to the general store at Mountain Center after dinner and getting barrel brined pickles (oh my, they were good), going to ISOMATA to see Shakespeare/Pete Seeger / flamenco. And the counselors singing "Good Night Ladies" at the tennis courts (kissing may or may not have been involved). And perhaps best of all, Olympic Week, where besides the athletic competitions, we 'wrote songs, music and lyrics, and taught them to the rest of the tribe .And learned about friendship and cooperation. I grew and healed in so many ways in the years I attended, and am still amazed I got to be in such beauty. Over 50 years later, I continue to treasure my time at Camp Roosevelt, and am so thankful to Helen for creating such an amazing place. I was so very fortunate to be a camper at Camp Roosevelt. Joyce Carlton Gibson 7/14/2015. Many blessings on your family.

My Piece/Peace of Helen

Late but no less heartfelt. When I was about 9-10-11-12?, and Helen had her studio in the garage on Kilkea, she made me a tiny little pot. I remember the pride in her eyes when she handed it to me and she said, "I made this especially for you". Throughout the years, I packed it and moved it and packed it and moved it. I still have my piece/peace of Helen. I always will.

On Family and Inspiration

Helen always told me the greatest thing in life is to have family.

After over 10 years of hearing about the amazing exploits of her children, we finally worked up the nerve to go for it and were blessed with the most amazing daughter who has brought us the magic of what Helen was telling us all along.

A big part of what inspired us was to witness how the children Helen brought into the world with such fierce dedication rose above and beyond the call when she in turn needed them.

We will never forget her hearty smile, her loving hug, her warm kiss, and her love for family that inspired us to follow in her footsteps.

With love,


I first met Ray and Helen on the suggestion of one of the staff at the Corralitos Market 20 years ago. I became Ray's secretary right after the passing of both of my parents. As a young mother, I felt such a loss for my children not having grandparents on my side of the family. Ray and Helen opened their doors wide and created a way for me to share what a treasure grandparents could be. In so many ways they filled the role of the parents who left me before their time. They watched my children grow and bloom. It was as if my parents picked them to fill the void. Helen would always greet me with a dazzling smile and "Hi, my friend! Come in and sit down! Would you like something to eat?" Helen encouraged me to start my own business, which I did. And then to go back to school for Dental Hygiene, which I did. And which I still am practicing 15 years later. I owe then both so much and will pay them back through encouragement, inclusion, unconditional love of those I meet. A week before she died, she was still remarking on the beauty of the day and the remarkable design of the cabinets in the room we were in. When she asked, "Where's Ray?" I simply told her he was out and about, which he was. On my way out for the last time, I stroked her hair and kissed her forehead...and she said, "That's nice...." I will keep her in my heart forever. Thanks, Helen, that wonderful thing we shared was VERY nice.


I met Helen through her son Larry in the 1970's. She was my neighbor on Kilkea and she and Ray used to entertain my daughter, Tomoko who probably met them at about 3 years of age. Helen designed my wedding invitations when I married Bob Brooks. She was always there for us. We went through Ray's breast cancer, then my own. When she moved to Northern California Patrick and I would visit her every year at least for Ray's birthday in December and other times when we went to visit our other family in the North. She was like a second mother to me, but even better. She and Ray would come and stay with us in Southern California when they were still able to travel. It was very sad when they couldn't travel South. I remember her 90th birthday; they were both in great shape. She later wrote that she was devastated by Ray's death. I'm sure that was true and she only lived a few months after he died. I miss both of them.

Trader Joes

The very first time I heard of trader joes I was reading the label of a plastic cookie jar filled with ginger snaps, cookie jars would make a full circle and become a symbol of our relatinship unbeknownst to me at the time as much of life was. These ginger snaps were magical, and I had never experienced anything quite like it. There was something so special about the sun shining down through the redwoods on Helen and Ray's deck just a few houses up the road from mine. It was at an open house that I was helping Helen with, the sort of help you get when you agree to watch your neighbors kid. I love shopping at Trader Joe's, somehow a little of the magic never wore off. I love talking about my 10+ years that I was so lucky to have had a mentor, first in ceramics then later in life. I really honestly love all of my precious memories with Helen and Ray and Miss Kitty. Both houses in Corralitos, many pop-ins as I returned from college countless weekends, often surprising my parents I was even home, as they saw my pick-up out from of Helen and Ray's. I don't even have to justify that Helen and Ray either had wonderfully full lives because their abundance of life enjoyment always spilled over into mine and for that I am greatful and spoiled to have had. There we always be a special place in my heart for all things Helen and Ray; ceramics, diaries, cooking, reading, cat napping on a chair reading an interesting book or article, tuna salad, art shows, trader joes and ginger snaps among many others. I love you My Helen.


I first met Helen when I was 5 years old. During that first camp summer, she took me under her wing, and made me feel like part of the family. From that point forward, I spent a huge amount of time with the Slaters. I have images of Helen busy in the kitchen creating countless great meals which were a luxury to me.

The Slater house was always bustling with creative and fascinating people. There was an energy there that couldn't be duplicated. I believe Helen made much of that possible.

Patsy and I grew up together at Camp and on Kilkea. Larry was the little brother, and I remember when Michael was born. My heart goes out to the great Slater kids. They had a great Mom,and it shows.


I knew Helen through my parents, Ted & Ada Wasserman. What I remember is this: As a young man I always felt welcomed in her home. This may sound like a small and insignificant thing, and in itself it is. But as I look back now I think this low key yet genuine welcoming was just a reflection of who Helen was. There was kindness, acceptance, and good humor. I liked being in her home and I liked her.

Camp Roosevelt Memory of Helen

I was a happy camper at Camp Roosevelt for more than a decade of my young life and will always remember Helen's warmth and gentleness with me and other campers. When I finally reached the pinnacle of being a C.I.T. at age 16, I was thrilled to participate in those group training sessions in Helen and Dan's "big house" during "rest hour." Will always remember the beautiful pottery that adored the shelves and the way Helen made her house feel just like home--to everybody. Good memories of Helen abound. Thank you.

My Memories

I was very fortunate to have practically grown up at the Slater household. With my close friend Michael. I have the fondest of memories of Helen being very warm and funny. Helen knew my mother well, who I just lost a few months ago, and my mother always spoke so highly of Helen. We were lucky to have all of the Slaters as our neighbors and close friends for many years. Our sincerest condolences to all of Helen's family from the Mejia Family. Thank you.