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Helen W. Arehart

Obituary for Helen W. Arehart

February 15, 2019


Helen W. Arehart, of Philadelphia, PA died Friday, February 15, 2019 at Pauls Run, 9896 Bustleton Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19115. She was 92 years old.
Helen was born in 1926 and raised in a series of homes up and down Torresdale Avenue by her parents, John and Myrtle Kohr, with her sisters Ruth, Jean, Anna and Myrtle and brother John. She attended Frankford High School and graduated in 1944. Upon graduation, with World War II raging on, she worked for Curtis Publishing while her future husband Bob served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 - 1946. They married in 1948 as Bob studied electrical engineering at Drexel,on the G.I. Bill, with Helen working days at Curtis to pay the rent then typing his papers at night. Theirs was a full partnership from the start, well ahead of their time.

Throughout her life Helen was passionate about reading and education and was often compelled to express herself in verse. She wrote this to Bob before they wed, foretelling a long and happy marriage based upon the bedrock of mutual respect:

In Love - Helen W. Arehart
I find I like your shade of hair.
I like your build. I like your walk.
I like your eyes. I like your smile.
I like to hear you laugh and talk.
And though I find that this is true.
That's not just why I'm loving you.
It's not the flimsy outer shell
That draws my soul so close to you.
It's cause you're brave and strong and fine.
It's cause you're good and kind and true.
Because you are yourself, I know
That's why I find I love you so.

Helen was a kind, gentle, deeply empathetic soul, caring about those around her with less, and calling for all people to have a fair chance at a happy and successful life.

When Bob won an engineering position at Philadelphia Electric (PECO - currently Exelon) and they built a measure of financial security they started their family and Helen became a full time homemaker and thoughtfully engaged mother.

Helen's devotion to education and opportunity informed her parenting and her children Robert (1952), Kurt (1955) and Dawn (1960) were encouraged to flourish in life, and have.

Helen used the solid foundation of her life with Bob to help those around her, be they family or no, rather than live in ostentation. She and Bob lived simply as they saved hard for their retirement and their children's education. They were generous to those in need and yet made certain they would never become a burden to others.

With her children needing less of her time Helen turned her energy outside the home, rising to leadership roles in the Parent Teacher Association of Fox Chase Elementary School and the Sunday School of Saint James Lutheran Church, her lifelong community of faith. She saw reading as the foundation of education, and so she volunteered as a reading tutor. She saw money problems as the source of much marital discord around her, and so she created and led workshops for young adults in family budgeting. This was her way.

Helen spoke often of her parents, John and Myrtle, admiring their gentle kindness, their selfless devotion, their generosity even in times of want. She felt the loss of her father deeply, and wrote:

In Memory OF John Edwin R. Kohr, "Dad" (a man who lived in his garden) Helen W. Arehart

I saw them there this year -
That wave of bloom.
The Columbines -
Yellow bonnets nodding.
And there, among their
Long and slender stems
My mind's eye saw
Your hands in loving care.
A tear of memory dropped
Into their midst.
I should have stooped
And pulled the choking weeds.
For you have left
This earth and all its tasks.
But that is one
I could not bear to do.

She signed this "Bill", as her family called her Billie all through her childhood and she was Aunt Billie to many.

We may never know how many people she helped, because she often did so in confidence, mindful of the dignity of those in need. Many around her have seen this and seek to live by her example. And so her good works continue.

We believe her favorite role was as the deeply devoted wife to Robert F. Arehart for over 69 years. She expressed her love often and was always supportive in a marriage that remained throughout a partnership of equals. A love like theirs is rare and enviable and they never took it for granted.

Family and friends are invited to Helen's Life Celebration Monday, April 15, 2019 beginning 10:00 AM. at Saint James Lutheran Church, 5185 Castor Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, followed by an interment of ashes in the adjacent memorial garden. The family then invites all to a lunch, details to follow.

In lieu of flowers, a donation in Helen's memory to St. James Lutheran Church, 5185 Castor Avenue, Philadelphia, ┬ĚPA 19124 would be appreciated by the family. (Family Services by Dean/Geitner/Givnish of Fox Chase)

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Dean/Geitner/Givnish Funeral Home, Inc.

7900 Oxford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19111
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