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19.3.09

Helen Sadow, 1923-2009

(To understand why this is appearing in this space, read about my father. Thanks in advance for any comments that might be left.)


While my father was more about direct political action -- writing letters to policy-makers and newspapers, running for office, etc. -- my mother's contributions to politics were less publicly visible and stemmed from her vast enjoyment of philosophy. especially when they intersected with her deep religious faith. In an undergraduate philosophy class her Jesuit instructor once quizzed on some matter of philosophy and she volunteered an answer. He asked how she had formulated that and she said, "It's obvious" and gave a brief explanation. After class, he took her aside and told her that particular concept usually did not become understood even in a simple form to most students until the end of the semester and then some still never got it. The complexity of her level of understanding, he noted, he rarely ever encountered.


Probably her greatest pleasure came from exploring the nuances of the nexus of philosophy and theology; besides her poetry appearing in the high school yearbook of her senior year there is a telling passage in the "Class Will" section that reads "Helen Haddock, our argumentative senior, leaves her glamor to ...." Even as she very much enjoyed the contemplative aspect of philosophy and theology, she did extend that to the world of politics, basing her beliefs on incredibly logical and informed presuppositions. A few around Monroe probably remember her activity in the Republican women's club. But even earlier in life she extended belief to action. When she began working in the deep South in the 1940s, she was appalled at the segregationist culture and would subvert it in small ways, such as (only occasionally having access to a car) giving rides to black co-workers at her hospital who otherwise would have to walk.


Unlike my father, who read this space, my mother never was into computers. Regardless, some understanding about her should be left in cyberspace. So long, Mom.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your mother sounded like a wonderful woman. You have my family's prayers.

-Jeremy

Anonymous said...

Dr. Sadow -

Sorry to hear about the death of your mother. Any loss is tragic but the loss of those we love who helped shape our lives is often a bigger burden. Prayers are with you and your family.

Scott Hughes

Mr Turnbow said...

Dr Sadow I lost my mother in Febuary of liver cancer. So I know how it feels. God bless you sir.

walkertxrobin said...

She was amazing! She always ignited curiousity in our conversations,and she encouraged questioning with every topic. She was a beautiful lady who always cared about those around her.