July 5, 1924 - March 27, 2014
Helen Levesque, 89, of Auburn, died Thursday, March 27, 2014, at the Clover Manor in Auburn. A native of Lewiston, she was born July 5, 1924, the only child of Elisee and Roseanna Payeur Levesque. Education was highly valued in the family. After graduating from Lewiston High School Helen earned degrees from Regis College in Weston, MA (French and Spanish) and Catholic University in Washington, D.C. (Spanish and Education).
Helen’s 32 year teaching career began with a one year position at an army-dependent school on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. When she returned to Maine she taught English, Ancient History, and Science in South Paris. Later, she taught English at both Lewiston High School and St. Dominic’s Regional High School. Her last assignment was teaching English and French for 26 years at Walton School in Auburn.
Summers were spent traveling and learning about other cultures and countries. Helen recalled two summers when she studied with the help of scholarships awarded by the U.S. government’s National Defense Education Act.
In the mid 1950’s the Russians launched “Sputnik”, an interplanetary device which would allow the nations of the world to develop a new kind of warfare. The U.S. Congress realized that a highly educated and well-trained work force in the areas of foreign language and science was needed; thus the enactment of the National Defense Education Act by the U.S. Congress. The law enabled Helen and many other teachers to attend foreign language and science programs throughout the world. Helen attended summer courses for French at UCLA-Berkley and at the University of Besancou in Northeastern France.
Her travel, to many American states and 37 foreign countries, provided her a wide experience that she was able to share with her students. Each place she visited had its own charm and Helen admitted that she could never pick a favorite among all the places she has seen. “My own experiences helped make the things we discussed in class more real because I had been there,” said Helen. “I think they made my classes more interesting.”
Helen enjoyed music programs, exercise classes, educational and religious programs. She participated in many Clover Health Care activities particularly enjoying visits from the onsite preschool children. She also enjoyed going out to eat, trips to the library, and visiting with family and friends.
Helen will be remembered for her intelligence, inquisitive nature, and perseverance in the face of declining health. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was a true, long time friend to many. This unique and original lady will be missed.