Cover photo for Helen Kay Haskin's Obituary
Helen Kay Haskin Profile Photo

Helen Kay Haskin

February 3, 1950 — December 19, 2023


Helen Kay Haskin

Helen Kay Haskin was born the only daughter of two chemists-John and Kathryn Haskin-in Charleston, West Virginia on February 3, 1950. She grew up in St. Albans where she attended public schools, showing a great interest in chemistry and geology, and graduating from high school at age 17 in 1967. She majored in Chemistry at nearby West Virginia State University, graduating in 1970. Following her father's advice Helen pursued her graduate work in chemical engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. While in graduate school, Helen became a fan of Texas football. Her PhD research led her to study abroad at the Free University ofBrussels in Belgium. There, she developed a fondness for German beer and French comics. Helen became only the second woman ever to obtain a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas.

After graduation, Helen moved to Houston and worked in the Texaco research labs, where she conducted research formethods for enhanced oil recovery. While there, painter Norma Jones introduced Helen to the arts community and encouraged her to take painting and print-making classes. Upon joining the Society of Women Engineers, Helen met local rocket scientists including Ivy Hooks.

In 1989, Helen married George Bousfield, a biochemist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. When George took a position at Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, Helen transferred to the Texaco refinery in nearby El Dorado, KS, where she worked with computer systems that facilitated control of refinery processes. In 1995, Helen became the proud mother of twins George and Sarah. When the twins turned 5, the family began skating together at the Wichita Ice Center. Learning to skate led to figure skating and hockey for the twins and ice dance for the parents. Helen sewed skating costumes for the kids-as well as many Halloween costumes and princess dresses-using skills learned in 4-H and from her mother, an accomplished seamstress. She also assisted at Wichita Figure Skating Club, hosting local, regional, and sectional skating competitions.

When Helen retired from the refinery, she continued toshare her talents with many in the local community. She volunteered as a poll worker, assisting during elections, taking on various roles across Sedgwick County. She joined the book club at St. Stephens Episcopal Church and encouraged thirdgraders to learn to read fluidly in the Read to Succeed Program at Payne Elementary School. Helen always shared her favorite children's' books-the ones she'd read to her own children when they were young. A long-time member of St. James Episcopal Church, Helen worked in the nursery, ushered, served on the vestry, was part of All Souls Guild, helped at the annual oyster dinner, and welcomed new members into the church. She strongly supported the Guild Hall Players, a theatre group based at St. James. After retiring, she resumed taking print-making classes at Mark Arts. Many of Helen's prints focus on architecture and use elements of the natural world to craft landscapes from her many travels.

Helen loved to travel. Her adventures include a photo safari in east Africa, a windjammer cruise in the Caribbean, and an early tour of mainland China. Helen and George enjoyed traveling for work and pleasure, taking a business/vacation trip to the British Isles and Germany, a 6-week trip to Japan, a week in Paris, and a daylong hike to the Burgess Shale. Family vacations included many trips to see relatives in Texas and Michigan, as well as trips to see national parks and landmarks like Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, Craters of the Moon, and Yellowstone. The family also participated in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2011.

Helen, who died on December 19, 2023 from complications of a rare form of cancer, with her family by her side, was incredibly proud of the children. George, who follows in his mother's footsteps working in Kansas City as a mechanical engineer after graduating from KU and Sarah, who lives in Orlando, Florida, is pursuing her masters in public history, studying the history of food, technology and community. Helen's life and work inspired both of them; they, along with her husband George, know how much she loved them.

Helen is survived by her husband George, daughter Sarah, son George, brother Robert Haskin, sister-in-law Katherine Jinks, niece Kathryn Bongiovanni, nephew William Haskin, grandniece Fiona Bongiovanni, grandnephew Ethan Bongiovanni, and her many friends.

A memorial service will be held at St. James Episcopal Church at 10:00 a.m. on January 20, 2024.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations go to the St. James Guild Hall Players c/o St. James Episcopal Church, Wichita, KS...


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Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

St. James Episcopal Church

3750 E Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS 67208

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