Helen Wyszpolski Skowronek, daughter of Frank Wyszpolski and Mary Sroka Wyszpolski, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Jan. 29, 1921, and died on June 14, 2012, in Hendersonville, N.C.
Helen was a graduate of New York University in biology and chemistry. She worked on a malaria research project for the U. S. government during the war, did soil analysis at North Carolina State in Raleigh, and worked in the hematology laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Research Center in New York City.
Subsequently, she received her teaching certificate, and taught in Tenafly, N.J., Rifle, Colo., Rolling Hills, Calif., and Naperville, Ill.
While in Colorado (1964-68), in addition to substitute teaching, Helen taught first grade in Silt and later during the 1967-68 academic year, taught sixth grade at Esma Lewis Elementary School in Rifle. Later, from 1975-78, she taught English and American culture in a school sponsored by the U.S. Information Service in Medan, Indonesia.
With her husband, Lester, she lived in Raleigh; New York City; Tenafly, N.J.; Rifle; Rolling Hills; Naperville; Medan Sumatra (Indonesia); Norway; Beaumont, Texas; Lawrenceville, N.J.; and settled in Hendersonville in 2003.
She played piano, taught Sunday school, loved ballroom dancing, was an avid knitter, and enjoyed a variety of crafts, such as pottery, batik, painting, spinning and weaving.
She went camping with the family in the Western U.S., visiting national parks and monuments. She was a member of the WNC Polish American Club and the American Legion Auxiliary.
While Helen had not lived in Rifle for more than 40 years, the community and its people found a permanent fond place in her heart. She kept her connection to the region alive as an avid reader of the Citizen Telegram and an enthusiastic card writer to her friends. She often commented on the wonderful children she taught.
She was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 63 years, Lester, who died on Jan. 1, 2009.
She is survived by her three children: son, Geoffrey (Marianne) Skowronek of Oregon; daughter, Capt. Leslie Skowronek of Hendersonville; and son, Russell (Margaret Graham, PhD) Skowronek, PhD of Texas; two grandchildren, Stephan (Lisa) Skowronek of Oregon and Olga Skowronek of Texas; and two great-grandsons, Tyler Skowronek and Ethan Skowronek of Oregon.
Burial was in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y.