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Helen Duggan

Helen K. Duggan August 15, 1922 - August 4, 2016 San Diego (Rancho Bernardo)

 Helen Katherine Duggan passed into eternal life at Palomar Hospital West in San Diego County on August 4th, 2016. She died of colon cancer eleven days before her 94th birthday. Helen was born as Virginia Harvey in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 15, 1922. She was then adopted by Cornelius J. Duggan and his wife Katherine as their only child. Helen showed early promise as an alert, adventurous student, entering first grade before her fifth birthday, obtaining successful grades through high school and graduating at less than 16 years old. About that time she became aware of her "secret" beginnings which led her into the maze of "sealed" records for adoptions common to that era. She suddenly needed a new place and space. It would be the Navy. World War One was approaching. Joining the Navy before age 21 was done with parental permission back then. Helen's mind was filled with positive thoughts of Boot Camp in New York City, like-minded friends and travel. She was happy to leave behind her local department store job and her unsuccessful attempts to find her birth parents. Interestingly enough, the Navy had no problem obtaining her legal birth certificate out of sealed records. Helen remembered serving in the military during the Greatest Generation as the best time of her life. She was happy to serve anywhere she was sent New York (the best), Bainbridge, Maryland, Pensacola, Florida, Honolulu, Hawaii (2nd best), Alameda, CA and San Diego, CA (the greatest!). At the end of each tour, she received a Good Conduct Medal. In 1966, she received a Bronze Star for National Defence Service. All of her assignments were met with responsibility and efficiency whether it was personnel assistant, instructor, teacher, airplane mechanic, office manager or counsellor. She was intensely proud of being a Veteran of WWII, Korea and Viet Nam.

After retiring from the military, Helen also worked for the County of San Diego for 15 years. Neither marriage nor children were ever in Helen's life, but she managed to gather a large family of friends as well as cousins (through her genealogy work). Some of them three generations removed in the Duggan and Glynn families. Many of Helen's friendships were blessed with longevity. Such friends were Dick and Pili Haight, friends for over 50 years, Jacob and Mary Krugle, with whom she lived for eight years, knew Helen for 37 years. Patty Glynn in Kansas City spoke on the phone with Helen nearly every day. Helen was in contact with many other friends as well, such as, Glen and Marilyn Inman, Jerry and Meg Duggan, Margaret Nally, Susan Burke, Joan Casson, Linda Bailey, Marina Cisneros and her grandchildren, Dottie Kelley, Jim and Gayle Andersen and Verna Brown. Marilyn Erickson in San Diego who helped Helen daily through the last years of her life was in constant contact. Stephanie Colson enjoyed bringing her two poodles to visit Helen at her apartment. Helen is remembered for her unusual generosity it was free-spirited, magnanimous, continuous, insightful to needs and unsurpassed by anyone her friends can remember.

A graveside service with Military Honors was be held at Miramar National Cemetery, 5795 Nobel Dr., San Diego, at 12:30 pm on Sept. 19, 2016.