Obituary: Mary Gilmore Helming, Member of Original Nursing Faculty

Mary Gilmore Helming (Special Collections and University Archives photo)

Mary Gilmore Helming, 96, of Manchester, professor emerita of nursing, died at home on July 24.

Born in Magnolia, she grew up in Manchester, where she graduated from Story High School. She graduated from the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1940 and became a registered nurse. She was also a graduate of Simmons College School of Nursing and received an M.S. from the School of Nursing at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

During World War II, she was an instructor of nursing at Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing, where she taught among others, members of the Cadet Nurse Corps. Later, she was an assistant professor of nursing at Boston College.

In 1953, when the campus established its nursing program, Helming was among the faculty recruited by the founding dean Mary A. Maher. During her tenure, she was the administrator of the program as well as an expert in medical-surgical nursing.

“She was a remarkable nurse educator who made significant contributions to the profession of nursing in the environs of Springfield, through her work at Baystate Medical Center and throughout the Commonwealth as a leader in professional organizations,” said professor emeritus Ann Sheridan.

Helming was married to Vernon Parker Helming, professor of English, who died in 1998.

In 2001, she moved to Manchester to live with her sister.

She leaves her brother John Gilmore of Manchester; step-children John C. Helming of Ledyard, Conn., Charles V. Helming of Hansville, Wash., Margaret J. Helming of Madison, Wis., three step-grandchildren and two step-great-grandchildren, many nieces and a nephew.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at Sacred Heart Parish, 62 School St., Manchester, on Tuesday July 29 at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Rosedale Cemetery in Manchester. There are no visiting hours.

Memorial contributions by be made to the College of Nursing, 181 Presidents Dr., Amherst 01003 or to the Alter Fund at Sacred Heart Parish, 62 School St., Manchester, MA 01944.