Helen Ballantine passed away peacefully in her Corona del mar home of 56 years, her son Fred and her beloved caregiver Reggie Ramos in attendance. She was 92 years old. While friends and family agree that she had a long and rewarding life, all of us will miss this loving and gracious lady.
Helen Jean Bartlett was born in South San Francisco, attended local schools there, and graduated as her high school valedictorian. She met her future physician husband, David Ballantine, at Pomona College, CA. While Dave attended medical school in Baltimore, Helen moved back to the Bay Area and received her Bachelor of Arts degree at Stanford University. Helen and Dave were married in Palo Alto in 1942. Their first child, Alice, was born in 1945. After Dave’s two years of overseas military service, the young family moved to California, eventually settling in the Orange County area, where Dave set up his surgical practice. Twin sons Fred and Doug were born in 1947.
Helen volunteered with the Newport Harbor Chapter of Children’s Home Society and with the UC Irvine Women's Opportunities Center. She was one of the original members of the Irvine Coast Country Club (now the Newport Beach Country Club), and supported local performing arts. Helen and Dave had a wonderful life that included family trips to scenic mountain and beach resorts, golfing vacations with their many friends, and travel to foreign countries.
Helen was a warmhearted and gregarious person with an upbeat nature and a spirit of fun. She always had time to listen with empathy to people who had problems. Helen taught her children her love of family traditions. Birthdays and holidays with all the trimmings were celebrated with enthusiastic zeal in the family home. Friends and extended family still remark about her talents as a hostess and gourmet cook.
Helen is preceded in death by her husband Dave, her son Doug, her parents Dr. Edwin I. and Anna Taylor Bartlett, her brothers Edwin H. and Bob Bartlett and many close friends. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Alice and Erick Van Vleet, her son Fred, her granddaughter and husband Melissa and Patrick Connor, her nieces and their husbands Annabel and Harold Unland, Roxanne and Charles Frey, Susie and Jim Bergens, her nephews Jon Bartlett and his wife Annie and Daniel Bartlett, and by many second generation nieces and nephews and some dear friends. The family would like to thank Helen’s good doctors, chiefly James Fondren, whom she regarded as a friend.
Following funeral arrangements by Pacific View Memorial Park, a private memorial will be held. In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Helen’s memory to Doctors without Borders, e-mail: www.doctorswithoutborders.org; phone: 1-212-763-5779; address: P.O. Box 5030 Haggerstown, MD, 21741-5030.
There is a story about Helen, in her forties, being sighted in her station wagon, the Ballantine pet weimaraner hunched over in the low-ceilinged back compartment of the car, as she drove through traffic licking an ice cream cone. Her family teased her about being “out gallivanting around.” Helen replied, “That’s what I want it to say for my epitaph: ‘Helen is out gallivanting around.’”