In Memoriam

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John Garvin Helmick ’62

A picture of John Helmick

John Garvin Helmick ’62, January 6, 2012, in Vallejo, California, from complications of lung cancer. John came to Reed from Boise, Idaho, where he was a violinist and concertmaster in his high school orchestra and with the Boise Symphony Orchestra. He was also a champion tennis player and a National Merit Scholar. David C. Newell ’62 recalled playing music with John at Reed: “He would get his violin and we would go over to the president’s house and, with me at the piano, play through some Mozart and Beethoven violin sonatas.” John earned a BA from Reed in physics and then entered the Peace Corps in Ghana, where he taught mathematics and science. Back in the U.S., he briefly worked in nuclear physics, but found the field philosophically challenging to his pacifist ideals. He attended San Francisco State University and lived in Eugene, Oregon, before returning to Boise to assist his aging parents. Primarily self-taught, John mastered several languages and worked as a translator of Greek and German. Survivors include three siblings. “Those who would like to honor John’s memory will do something, large or small, in the cause of world peace and justice.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2012

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