Obituary of Dr. Helen Blanchard
Dr. Helen M. Blanchard joined her husband Dr. Robert E. Blanchard in eternal rest on October 18th, 2023.
Born to immigrant parents Thomas Christos and Margaret Smith Kansas on February 24, 1932, she is a graduate of Amsterdam High School, University of Rochester, and Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (Drexel Univ). She completed her internship and residency in Rochester where she met her husband. She returned to Amsterdam where she practiced Obstetrics and Women’s Health from 1960 to 1996. She was one of a few obstetricians at the time with real-life experience - having given birth to four children, Thomas E. (Barbara), John K. (Karen), Robert A. (Mary), and Margaret E. Montgomery (C. Timothy). She also had the “other son” Michael R. O’Brien (Anita). She is survived by her grandchildren Nicholas (Clarynne), Amanda Forgione (Joseph), Dianna, Christina Zaloga (Christopher), Jonathan, Joshua, Zachary, Moira and Clara Montgomery as well as her great-grandchildren John and Kaizo. She is predeceased by her parents, husband, great grandson Kenji, and her sister Dr. Eugenia Poulos.
Dr. Helen had many “firsts” in her life. She was the first female Chief of Staff and first female lay member of the Board of Directors at St. Mary’s Hospital. She was also a member of the Foundation and the Advisory Board at St. Mary's Hospital. Dr. Helen served as the Director of the Carondolet Women's Health and Prenatal Clinic from 1985-1996. In her spare time, she was the first woman elected president of the Greater Amsterdam Board of Education and the first woman on the Board of Directors of the Amsterdam YMCA. She was named Woman of the Year 1969 by the Amsterdam Business & Professional Women. In 2005, she was recognized by Senator Hugh T. Farley and the NYS Senate as a “Woman of Distinction”. Dr. Helen was also a member of the Vestry at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church. In her retirement, she contributed her time and expertise to a variety of organizations including the Montgomery County Office of the Aging Advisory Council and Board of Directors, the State Office for Aging Advisory Committee, and the Walter Elwood Museum. Most importantly, over her 36-year practice, she was the first to welcome 7,000 babies (“give or take”) into this world.
A Memorial Service followed by a Celebration of Life will be held at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church on Monday, November 6, 2023 beginning at 1:00 until 5:00 pm. The family welcomes those who wish to visit and honor Dr. Helen’s life throughout this time. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in her memory be made to St. Ann’s Episcopal Church at 37 Division St. Amsterdam, NY 12010.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Helen Blanchard, please visit Tribute Store