Helen Marie Struthers, originally from central Florida, died August 15, 2010, of complications of an autoimmune liver disease with which she had lived for 13 years. She was 61. She is survived by her sister Elizabeth Struthers Malbon (Blacksburg, Virginia), her two brothers John O. Struthers (West Palm Beach and Lake Wales) and Robert A. Struthers (Blacksburg), her nephew Bradford Struthers Malbon (Boston) and niece Annemarie Struthers Malbon (Blacksburg), her brother-in-law Scott H. Malbon (Blacksburg), and many cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents Orville W. Struthers and Roberta Diamond Struthers of Winter Haven and Winter Garden.
Born in Orlando, she attended public schools in Winter Haven (K-11) and graduated from Lakeview High School in Winter Garden. She was an active Girl Scout in the Heart of Florida Girl Scout Council, from Brownies to Cadette troop leader. She earned a B.A. in Humanities (1971) and a Masters of Library Science (1972) at Florida State University, where she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi national academic honor societies.
Ms. Struthers worked as a librarian at the Orlando Public Library for 21 years, moving from summer intern to head of the audiovisual department. Later she served for 8 years as Director of the Covington Branch of the Dekalb County Public Library, GA. After her move to Blacksburg, Virginia in 1999, she served first as a volunteer and then on the staff of the Blacksburg Branch of the Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library.
Helen was an avid bicyclist, bicycling across the US with her brother Robert in 1976 as part of the Bike Centennial, and also in Europe. She also enjoyed hiking, tennis, photography, and her dog and cat. In Blacksburg, Helen became an active volunteer with the Interfaith Food Pantry, the Montgomery County Christmas Store (as department head for used books), and the twice-annual yard sales for outreach projects at Christ Episcopal Church.
A graveside service will be held on Saturday, August 21, at 10:00 a.m. at Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Gotha, Florida. Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Crisp-Coon Funeral Home of Winter Haven. A memorial service and reception will be held in the Great Hall of Christ Episcopal Church, Blacksburg on Sunday, August 29, at 4:00 p.m. Helen was a beloved daughter, sister, aunt, and friend.
In lieu of flowers, those who knew and loved Helen are invited to make a commitment to become organ donors if they have not already done so, in keeping with her bumper sticker: “Don’t take your organs to heaven; heaven knows we need them here, ” and so that fewer and fewer persons in need of an organ transplant will die waiting. Friends may also wish to make a donation in Helen’s memory to the Montgomery County Christmas Store especially for children’s books.