Helen Dunlap Seiber

Helen Dunlap Seiber

Helen Dunlap Seiber

Nov. 12, 1919 - March 16, 2009

A memorial celebration for friends, family and colleagues of Helen Dunlap Seiber, will be held April 11, 2009, at 1:00 p.m. at the Ashland Community Center.

Born Mary Helen Dunlap in Clovis, New Mexico in 1919, Helen was raised on working farms, primarily in the mountains of Arkansas. At age seven, while picking chinquapin acorns with her brother Eddie, Helen fell from a tree in an accident so severe as to cost her right arm, a year of schooling and a lifetime of chronic pain. From that time until the end of her life, Helen made a point of overcoming any challenges with optimism and grace.

Having lost their Arkansas farm during the Great Depression, Helen's family migrated to Oregon. They worked many places along the way, and she stayed in Willows, Calif., with a foster family in order to finish high school. The first in her family to graduate from high school, she then attended San Jose State College. She worked at Gus's Famous Coney Island Diner to pay for her schooling, eventually graduating with a major in Social Work and minor in Physical Education. In college she earned a place in the honorary society Black Masque. At the diner, she met her husband of nearly 40 years, Albert Seiber. Later, she attended graduate school in Bellingham, Wash.

The Seibers moved to Talent, Ore., in 1954, where they ran Seiber's Sporting Goods, and developed Seiber's Corner in Talent on Highway 99. The couple divorced in 1980. In addition to managing her Talent property, Helen launched two decades of extraordinary service to the community. She became a lifetime member of Soroptimists International and the American Association of University Women, and served on the boards of the Talent Historical Society and Friends of the Talent Library. She was one of the founders of the Talent Business Association. Among the awards she received for her volunteerism were the Edward D. Jones Heart of Gold Award for outstanding service to her community, the 2001 Florence Schneider Award from American Association of University Women in Ashland, the 2002 Women Helping Women Award from Soroptimists International of Ashland, the 2005 Talent Historical Society President's Award, and the honor of being Grand Marshall of the Talent Harvest Festival Parade in 2006. After a series of health challenges, Helen moved to Jackson House in Talent where she lived until a brief hospitalization in March. She died suddenly at Linda Vista Care Center in Ashland, March 16, 2009.

Helen Seiber is survived by two daughters, Suzanne Seiber and Nancy S. Ames, both of Ashland; son-in-law John Leistner, of Ashland; a granddaughter, Tiger Lee Torelle, now at the University of Portland, Ore.; a brother, David Dunlap, of Merlin, Ore.; a sister Jean Cantrell, of Oceanside, Calif.; and a close circle of nieces and nephews including Virginia Kile, of Phoenix, Oregon; Laura Cantrell, of Oceanside, Calif.; Marilyn Cantrell, of San Marcos, Calif.; Courtney Kramer, of Duluth, Minn.; Cecelia Biederstadt, of Okemos, Mich.; Tony Kramer, of Springfield, Mass.; Doug Dunlap, of Redmond, Ore., and Betty King of Salem, Ore. She was grateful for many decades of friendship with her dear friends Virginia Vogel, Katherine Harris, Alice Burnette, Rick Fielder and Jack Latvala.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Friends of the Talent Library, PO Box 597, Talent, OR 97540; Talent Historical Society, PO Box 582, Talent, Oregon 97540; or Soroptimists International of Ashland, PO Box 544, Ashland, OR 97520.

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