Backbone of the Community
by Cate Murway
The spinal column is both flexible [it bends] and flexuous [it bends in one direction, then another]. The vertebrae that make it are irregular and very individual.
Together, these groups form a pillar that supports the head and heart, the nerve and even the weakening flesh. It gives us strength, maintenance of posture, making it possible to stand upright with a flexible axis for locomotion, in order to progress forward.
When asked about the current Borough venture, the Oral History Program, Director of the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library, Mary Jane Mannherz, BHS grad/Lock Haven University/Syracuse University graduate degree, wholeheartedly responded, “Helen is a treasure of the community, the behind the scenes person who brings all the pieces of the program together. She is so efficient and is effectively the backbone; integral to any project, particularly involving the history and culture of the Borough.”
Excellent at organizing, systematizing, and managing, Helen has a way of establishing order and maintaining it.
Life long Borough resident, Helen [Greek origin, meaning "sun ray; shining light"] Mary Younglove, Trenton Cathedral ‘51 [closed in 1972, now Notre Dame]/ Rider University business course, worked as a secretary and as editor of the Rohm and Haas Chemicals LLC plant newsletter for almost 40 years, retiring in June 1992. While in H.S., Helen worked at J.G. McCrory's five & dime store on Mill Street and then “graduated up” to a sales position in Smith’s Model Shop, clothing for women and children. Her 4-decade R&H career included learning the basics of photography and the operation of a 35MM camera when plant photographer was added to her job description that already included writing the plant’s press releases. She shared that she had “the opportunity to use talents I didn’t know I even had and really enjoyed!” Helen found a quest for destiny with words!
Her late father, originally from Illinois, Arthur Deroy and her brothers, N.J. resident Arthur John, St. Joseph Prep ’57 and Hatboro lawyer, John Gerard, Esq., Bishop Egan ’64 were also employed at the Bristol plant. Helen developed her very early basic skills through creative play and social interaction while she attended kindergarten held in the Rohm and Haas' clubhouse at Maple Beach. During the summer in the '40s, her father would come home for lunch and then bring her mother, Helen [Mahan], a St. Mark School grad, her brother Art and her back with himself to the R&H Clubhouse so they could swim in the Delaware, relax on the sandy beach, and buy a snack in the Clubhouse and then he'd pick them up after work. Especially fond memories include the annual Fourth of July picnics and Clambakes held on the Clubhouse property and the children's Christmas Party in the Grand Theatre. The youngest sibling is her sister, reading specialist teacher and Title 1 federal program coordinator, Mary [Younglove] Gesualdi, Bishop Conwell ‘68/Trenton State‘77/ College of N.J Principalship ’85.
Their maternal grandparents lived in the Landreth Manor/Bloomsdale home since their grandfather, John was a salesman in the David Landreth Seed Company and their grandmother, Sarah was a nanny for the Landreth children. Her great Aunt Nellie O’Hara was a cook for the 1917-1943 Burgess, Clifford L. Anderson and his wife.
On May 23, 1961, state law changed the designation from Burgess to Mayor.
Helen feels that growing up in Bristol was a fun and memorable experience! Now you see it, now you don’t! Helen was one of the many youth who would attach a skate key to a string and “roll” her way to Pappajian’s Ice Cream and share the best hot fudge sundaes and banana splits. Or spend an afternoon with her “buds” at the Grand Theatre and enjoy “serial” cartoons and world news for $.12! She remembers summer swims in Silver Lake and “Safe" "Home" or "Rest" spaces in schoolyard hopscotch. In winter, hauling sleds, they plodded to the Forgey Bridge by the canal at the corner of Beaver & Buckley Streets to make their rapid descent down the flake covered hill. It was “Smalltown U.S.A.” and you could walk everywhere! An especially exciting memory is of John F. Kennedy’s campaign parade down Route 13. Athletic activities flourished and she was a "regular" spectator at the baseball games played on Leedom's Field (where the new Snyder-Girotti elementary school is being built) and at BHS basketball games. Her family was provided a desirable quality of life in a riverfront town with a rich heritage and a continually growing vibrant business base with excellent schools and a plethora of leisure opportunities.
“We'll rejoice in remembering
a page was torn out of time and space.”
In 1981, Helen started her town involvement in the Tri-centennial Celebrations, writing articles for the 300th Year Anniversary, one called “Mitch’s Musings. She interviewed Mitch Spector of the Spector’s Army & Navy Store, founded around 1907, which claimed the honor at that time of being the oldest business under continuous family ownership on Mill Street. Helen apparently relishes the challenges of passionately raising standards and really tenaciously making her mark in an exciting, progressive and rewarding environment. As a student, she had enjoyed being able to help those in need through charity events participating in the Junior Catholic Daughters of the Americas, a national youth program for girls ages 6 to 18.
The United Way offered a grant for a worthwhile project that would bring several organizations together to work for the benefit of the community and invited all of the Borough non-profits to a program presentation. The focus of the United Way has always been to identify and resolve pressing community issues, as well as making measurable changes in the communities through partnerships with schools, government agencies, businesses, community development corporations, voluntary and neighborhood associations, among others.
After brainstorming, Mary Jane Mannherz, Mary Gesualdi and Loretta Vasso collaborated and came up with the Oral History Project. The primary purpose of this “Learn local” program is to collect and transcribe oral histories, deposit transcripts and tapes with the local library, and make the content of the collected oral histories available to the general public through a live public program.
Community Mobilizer of the Bristol Borough Community Partnership, Loretta Vasso, M.S., CAC, stated, “Helen’s assistance in the early stages in the planning was invaluable.” The BBCP is a public/private collaboration committed to fostering positive development of youth and families to strengthen our community.
This well-defined program will motivate and engage the 7th & 8th graders to interview the older residents, teaching them valuable, lifelong skills, creating a final project that combines crucial reading, writing, speaking, questioning, and listening skills into a powerful, literacy-based learning experience.
The focus will be on recollections of growing up in Bristol and Helen’s contributions to this multidimensional learning experience will benefit the entire local community.
“A flame to burn through eternity”
Helen is the Bristol Cultural & Historical Foundation [non-profit, volunteer organization founded to preserve and promote the history and culture of this 1681 riverfront town] “Ways & Means” chairperson on the 2007 Board of Directors. She and other volunteers had a table of BCHF merchandise, along with “white elephant” and raffle tables near the west corner of Radcliffe & Mulberry on Historic Bristol Day. A cranberry & hunter green throw, “A Portfolio of Paintings” by local artist, Joe Sagolla and “Images of America” by members/historian Harold & Carol Mitchener were among the coveted offerings.
To identify, honor and reinforce the activities of this exceptional caring citizen whose service and performance has continually and positively contributed to the quality of life in Bristol Borough and beyond, the Bristol Lions Club awarded Helen Younglove “Citizen of the Year”. The 55th Annual Charter Night recognition banquet was held in her honor at the Pen Ryn Mansion in Bensalem.
Helen possesses and has demonstrated a generous spirit with her reoccurring pattern of unselfish efforts directed toward the community, raising the standards of social responsibility.
Beyond her philanthropic endeavors, Helen also focuses on her faith. She is intense, determined, purposeful and keenly perceptive. She knows her mission and lives her mission. Besides donating her free time as a “holy duster”, Helen served for two terms on St. Mark's pastoral council, engaging in ongoing dialogue with information and advice concerning the needs, feelings, hopes, and reactions of the parishioners to identify and prioritize the ways in which the parish is being called to live out its specific mission to become ever more relevant and responsive to the needs of its people.
She was also an RCIA instructor in the parish, assisting interested adult candidates to be gradually introduced to the Roman Catholic faith and way of life.
Helen’s all time favorite film “An Affair To Remember”, voted the #5 greatest romance of all time by the American Film Institute, is a wholly believable relationship between two attractive people who find themselves irresistibly attracted to one another. Class-act Deborah Kerr falls in love with playboy, Cary Grant and they agree to reunite on the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building in six months. "It's the closest thing to Heaven we have in New York City!"
Keeping Bristol Borough “a bit of heaven” appears to be Helen’s goal!
One person can truly make a world of difference.
“So take my hand with a fervent prayer
That we may live and we may share”
[“Affair to remember” lyrics by Harold Adamson and Leo McCarey]
To recommend a Bristol Borough Character to be spotlighted:
American Heritage Dictionary
1.Moral or ethical strength. 2.A description of a person's attributes, traits, or abilities.
sister-in-law, Rhonda Rae Younglove
Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013 4:00 am
Rhonda Rae Younglove passed away Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at Samaritan Hospice at Virtua Memorial Hospital, Mount Holly, N.J. She was 69.
Born and raised in Lansing, Mich., the daughter of the late Earl and Elner Glassbrook Barker, she resided in Willingboro for 30 years prior to moving to Delran, N.J., 14 years ago.
Ronda was involved with Marriage Encounter for more than 20 years, was a member of The Women of Joy and Body of Christ Prayer Community of The Church of Corpus Christi, the Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation, and was an avid Philadelphia Phillies fan.
She offered tremendous support and was an inspiration to other cancer patients at The Center for Cancer in Cherry Hill, N.J.
She is survived by her loving husband of 46 years, Arthur J. Younglove; her children, Leeann Reider and her husband, Rob, Cathy MacManiman and her husband, Wayne, and Jim Younglove and his wife, Lauren; four grandchildren, Caroline, Maura and Briget MacManiman, and Grace Reider. Rhonda also is survived by her brother, Ken Barker, and sister, Carol Jones, both of Michigan; and several nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law, and sisters-in-law.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend her funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 6, at Resurrection Parish Church of the Holy Name Site, 260 Conrow Road, Delran, N.J., where friends may call from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Interment will be held privately at a later date in Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Delaware Valley Chapter, P.O. Box 631, Holicong, PA 18928, or Samaritan Hospice Care, Virtua Hospital, 175 Madison Ave., 2 South, Mount Holly, NJ 08060. Wade Funeral Home, Bristol Borough www.wadefh.com