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Mom's compassion evident in work, church life

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Obit: Ivy Helsel

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Jerry Vondas
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Ivy Helsel's dedication to the well-being of people with disabilities at Verland and Passavant Memorial Homes was highly regarded by the people she worked with and families she helped.

Patrick Demico, chief operating officer and vice president of Passavant, which helps people with intellectual disabilities, remembered Mrs. Helsel's professionalism and commitment to the families Passavant served, and to the staff that worked with her in human resources.

“She was beloved by everyone she worked with,” he said.

Ivy Josephine Allen Helsel of McCandless, formerly of Hermitage in Mercer County, died on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in UPMC Passavant in McCandless. She was 69.

“My mother's desire to reach others who were hurting was a trait that her maternal grandfather, J. Alvin Hazlett, pastor of the United Presbyterian Church in Hartstown, Crawford County, passed on to his descendants,” said her son, Jay Helsel of Sewickley.

“And during the years we lived in Robinson, we attended the Union Presbyterian Church, where my mother was involved with the Sunday school and Bible school classes,” he added.

Born and raised in West Mifflin, Ivy Allen was one of four children of school teachers Lawrence and Martha Allen.

After graduating from Duquesne High School in 1961, Ivy Allen received her bachelor's degree in education from Grove City College.

In the early days of her marriage, Mrs. Helsel raised her three children, before operating a daycare in the 1980s.

Her son said one of the highlights of her life was to be able to put her boys through college. Her work was important to her, he said. “Anyone, a co-worker or staff member, could come and talk to her on a personal basis,” he said.

In addition to her son, Jay, Mrs. Helsel is survived by her sons, Brad Helsel of Portland, Ore., and Doug Helsel of Hatfield, Montgomery County; her siblings, Terry Allen of Belpre, Ohio, and Larry Allen of Garfield; and seven grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her sister, Seville Allen.

Friends will be received from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday in H.P. Brandt Funeral Home, 1032 Perry Highway in Ross. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday in The River at New Heights Church of God in Franklin Park.

Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or jvondas@tribweb.com.

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