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Obituary: Helen Mayo Lafferty

Helen Mayo Lafferty, of Hicksville, born Aug. 10, 1925, died peacefully in her sleep at home in the early hours of Oct. 15. She had just turned 87 years of age. Her husband of 46 years, Raymond Lafferty, predeceased her in 1993.

Helen was a lifelong advocate for justice and quality public education for all. In the 1950s, she actively worked to defeat a John Birch Society member seeking election to the Hicksville Board of Education. She pioneered preschool education in Hicksville at Burns Avenue School, writing the school’s first pre-school curriculum. She also advocated actively for the introduction of formal high school sex education classes in the mid-1960s. Always acting as an independent voice and voter, she ran for, and was elected to, the Hicksville Board of Education on two occasions, serving one term as president. There were several careers in her life: she was a medical secretary, preschool administrator and a licensed real estate broker. She was an active, founding member of St. Paul the Apostle Church in Brookville. One of her greatest joys was gardening, where she came to be known as the flower lady of Indiana Street. She was also a keen follower of local, state and national politics. One of her expressed regrets was that she would likely not be able to vote in this year’s presidential election.

She is survived by her sister, Kathleen Keefler Kinch, of Montreal, her two sons, Brian Francis Patrick (Nancy) of Andover, MA and Scott Daniel Patrick (Donna) of West Babylon, NY, three grandchildren Caitlin, Brendan and Fiona, whom she loved very much. She was predeceased by her brothers, Richard and Francis (2012) and two children, Thomas (1954) and Priscilla (1957).

Her wake was held at the Vernon Wagner Funeral home located at Jerusalem Avenue and Old Country Road, Hicksville, on Thursday, Oct. 18. A funeral mass was scheduled for her on Friday, Oct. 19, at St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in Brookville, NY. Donations to Catholic charities in lieu of flowers are suggested.