Helen (nee Giegerich) Mark (BSN ’65)

Passed away at home after an eight month illness of multiple myeloma. Helen was born in Kimberley, BC, the fourth child of Joe and Eva Giegerich. In 1959 Helen moved to Vancouver and studied nursing at UBC and the Vancouver General Hospital and obtained her RN in 1964. In 1966 she embarked on a trip around the world on an ocean liner and met Don Mark. They were married in 1968 and had four children, twin daughters and two sons. Helen was an avid skier and outdoor enthusiast all her life, from climbing the ski hill in Kimberley on foot in her childhood, through skiing with the UBC ski team, to family ski weeks at Big White, and many snowy weekends spent at Whistler among friends. Helen’s other favourite outdoor pursuit was cycling, which she enjoyed with a great group of Crescent Beach area friends. She cycled with her husband and friends in France, Belgium, Ottawa/Gatineau, the Gulf Islands, the San Juan Islands, the Kootenays, the Okanagan, the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. After adopting her youngest son from Vietnam in 1975, she began to gather and distribute information to assist people in the adoption of children from overseas. Her organization grew from her kitchen table into the Adoptive Families Association of BC incorporated in 1981. Her belief that every child deserved a loving home fueled her thirty year commitment to the AFA, first as a volunteer, and later as an employee. In 2004 the AFA created the “Helen Mark Excellence in Adoption” award, which is given annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to adoption. Helen is survived by her husband Don, her children Barb (Jim), Jan (Jeremy), Dan, Steve (Sunjit), her grandchildren Adam, Ruby, Claire, Anthony, Eloise, Noah, Kaylin and Asher, and her siblings Joe, Bob and Daryl and their families. Helen will be greatly missed by her family and friends. The family is grateful to all the friends and neighbours who supported her in many ways during her illness. Particular thanks go to Charles King, Helen’s doctor and friend of forty years.