Helaine Zimmerman was a larger than life woman who touched the hearts and souls of many people. Her motto was, “Live the life you love and love the life you live.” And she always did. Helaine was an out lesbian her entire life and did much for the LGBT community. She was out when very few people were brave enough to be. She served as a role model for those who had trouble coming out and was always willing to help others.
Helaine was a passionate social worker who could work with anyone but was especially talented at working with adolescents. Among her many contributions to society was her work at Communities for People. There she worked with adolescents and became the agency’s first director of training. She could connect with adolescents in a very special way and years after they were discharged from the program, many of them still called Helaine who never lost touch.
Volumes could be written about her work but I loved Helaine as a friend. She was extremely social and always ready for a good time. She had great stories about gay life in the 60’s and 70’s when she live in Boston’s South End. She was funny and engaging and was truly interested in others. We loved to spend time together and talk about all that was happening in the world. Helaine loved theater, dancing, dining out, parties and being with her friends and family. She loved her partner Thalia most of all. She was very witty and made even the most curmudgeon person laugh out loud. She was a real comedian and did standup comedy both in Boston and in the Catskills. She also taught dancing and was a great dancer herself. Most of all, Helaine was a loyal and trusted friend.
In March of 2013, Helaine died of melanoma at her Mashpee home with her spouse Thalia at her side. In those last months before her death she never complained or expressed any regrets except one: “I only regret I won’t live to see Hillary Clinton become president.” That was her regret. Mine is that I didn’t meet Helaine much earlier in my life. Think of all those wild discussions we might have had. I will miss her…………. forever.