My aunt, Helen Manley had character, courage and commitment; plus illimitable love for her fellowman. One biography described her as “a pioneer of the past who went where others would not go.”
Early in her career, Helen was appointed the Director of Health, Physical Education and Recreation for the University City Missouri school system, typically a man’s field.
In this capacity, she was awakened to the need for sex education. Not only was this topic controversial, but could have been professional suicide in the 1930’s. Children were not being taught at home, were getting incorrect information on the playground, and were asking questions. Courageously, Helen developed one of the most daring and successful curricula for sex education in the country which became the prototype for programs throughout the nation and the world. Furthermore, she realized that moral values must accompany the facts.
Helen clearly was a leader and specialist in the area of health and physical education and lectured throughout the world. Upon retiring from the school system, she became the Executive Director of the Social Health Association of Greater St. Louis and continued her mission throughout the country.
Unquestionably, her greatest talent was her love for her fellow man, inspiring them to be the very best possible.
Helen received every award and honor in her profession possible, too numerous to list. In the 1950’s, she was recognized in St. Louis as both Women of the Year and Woman of Achievement in Education. Helen was elected to Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in American Education. Perhaps the ultimate honor was when Washington University, St. Louis bestowed her with an Honorary Doctor of Humanities.
Helen was a powerful model and tremendous influence on countless lives worldwide---a great humanitarian indeed!!!
Helen Barnett Kyse