Helen P. McGuire passed away quietly in her bedroom at her son's home in Rehoboth Beach, Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, shortly before her hundredth birthday, after a typical day of reading books and newspapers, and talking with family.
Helen Ione Peret was born March 11, 1918, the second of five children of John Henry and Rua Gifford Peret. The family lived in Oregon, Mo. (population 902). She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1939. During her long life, Helen had three careers: first as a writer and journalist; next providing editorial and secretarial assistance at her husband's advertising representative firm; and later in government oversight of the cable industry. Her first job was assistant editor of the employee magazine for John Morrell & Co. in Ottumwa, Iowa, the nation's fifth largest meat packer at the time. In 1942, she was promoted to public relations manager.
In 1944, she accepted a position on the editorial staff of the National Provisioner magazine of Chicago. There she met her future husband, John L. McGuire, who had joined the sales staff of the magazine after serving in the Marine Corps in World War II. They were married in 1950 and moved to Denver, Colo., in 1952, when he was appointed a sales representative for KOA-TV, which had just begun broadcasting. Helen was a reporter for the famed Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal.
Helen then spent two decades raising children and assisting her husband when he left the station to found his own company, the first regional advertising representative firm in Denver. Helen provided editorial and secretarial assistance for the business. In her 60s, Helen sent out many job applications and became the first employee of Denver's Office of Telecommunications, which was established to oversee the new cable television service providers. After working full time for 15 years, she retired from the OTC as a telecommunications consultant in 1997 at the age of 79.
Throughout her life Helen volunteered for many charitable organizations. In Ottumwa, she was active in the First Presbyterian Church, was a member of the city's committee which brought internationally known classical music performers to Ottumwa, and was also active in various civic organizations. In Denver, she served as a docent, giving tours of the Denver Art Museum's European collection, read books for Recording for the Blind, and served as chairman of the Antonia Brico Symphony Orchestra Guild.
Helen enjoyed family trips to national parks, skiing, and sight-seeing trips to Europe. She played violin and studied French and Italian. For many years she was a member of Circolo, a Denver women's group that studied Italian. She and her husband were lifelong supporters of the Denver Symphony and the Santa Fe Opera. She was an incredible correspondent, writing many thousands of letters and postcards throughout her life.
She is survived by her son, Kevin McGuire and his lifelong partner Susan McNally; her daughter, Maureen McGuire and her husband Ranjan Batra, and their daughters, Sharmila and Keely McBatra. She was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, John L McGuire.
In lieu of flowers, Helen suggested memorial gifts to the University of Missouri School of Journalism Office of Development or to Wellshire Presbyterian Church in Denver.