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Remembering Helen Farnsworth (1914–2014)

Helen Farnsworth

Helen Farnsworth, former manager of the Music Department

Between 1939 and 2005, the Music Department had just two managers, Helen Farnsworth and myself. We saw the Department through decades of change in the University, the workplace, and the world. The music was the constant, and the challenges of maintaining ambitious and increasingly complex and diverse programs were easily eclipsed by the rewards.

A friend and colleague to the faculty, Helen worked ardently and selflessly on their behalf as the Music Department and Library grew to international stature and moved in 1959 from its ramshackle quarters
to Morrison and Hertz Halls. She handled the business and tended the programs and facilities with skill and affection, setting the tone and high standards for her staff and generations to follow.

This past July, many of Helen’s friends gathered on her 100th birthday for a memorial instead of the celebration—complete with a Berkeley mayoral proclamation—planned for the occasion. Her kindness and generosity of spirit touched us all in many ways, and the Music Department of today wouldn’t be the same without her.

— Hildegarde Klee, Department Manager, December 2014