Activist remembered for caring nature

March 23, 1997


Staff Writer

Some people line their walls with diplomas. Helen L. Youngblood decorated hers with thank-you notes and certificates of appreciation.

She had plenty of them.

Friends gathered in the Noland Village community room Sunday afternoon to remember the 48-year-old woman who died last Tuesday.

They said her caring presence lifted spirits in the public housing complex and improved the lives of those she touched.

"She never worried," said Judi Dominguez, a friend. "She always had a good outlook on life."

Youngblood, who worked at the Valley Mall, collapsed from a brain aneurysm as she was preparing to leave Fun-N-Games, friends said.


"She had gotten off work and remembered that she forgot her pocketbook, and ran back to get it,'' said Linda Newman. "She opened up the gate and started feeling light-headed and fell over."

Friends said Youngblood took great pride in helping others. She volunteered at Bester Elementary School when her children attended and spent much of her free time organizing activities for neighborhood children at Noland, they said.

One big event, friends said, was the Halloween haunted house she helped organize in 1994 and every year afterwards.

Her mother, Evelyn Wagner, said her daughter always had an unselfish nature.

"She was always into something," she said. "She was always busy doing something, and most of the time, it was for other people."

Wagner said she and her daughter had spent a great deal of time with each other in the two years since she retired.

"We were together a lot and I'm really going to miss that," she said.

Youngblood helped start the Noland Village Tenants Association, a first in the complex.

Youngblood had had three cancer operations since last summer, but had always kept her spirits up, according to friends.

"You wouldn't even know she was sick last fall," said Kathy Olson, current president of the tenant group. "You could have the worst day of your life and you were never going to leave Helen without a smile."

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