Beloved mother, sister, aunt, friend and teacher, Helen Plavner Winters passed on from this earthly plane on April 29, 2009.
Helen was born and raised in Brooklyn on July 24, 1924 to Phillip Plavner and Jenny Schonberg. A child prodigy on the piano, she attended The High School of Music and Art in Manhattan, and New York University.
She married Stanley Bisguier Winters in 1950 and lived in lower Manhattan before moving to a house on Shanley Ave. in Newark, New Jersey. Here they established and operated the Clinton Hill Day Nursery School. After divorcing in 1968, Helen and her two children settled in Livingston, New Jersey in 1971 where she lived the rest of her life. Helen graduated from Kean College with B.A. in Early Childhood Education and embarked on a career as a pre-school teacher, as a teacher and director of several public and private institutions in New Jersey
Later in life, Helen attained a certificate in Special Education, a Masters in Counseling and a certificate in Music Therapy. She worked for many years as the resident music therapist at The Coleman School at The New York Foundling Hospital in Manhattan before retiring.
Helen always maintained an interest in choral music. In the 1950s she sang with celebrated conductor Robert Shaw, and in the 1970s with the acclaimed Sine Nomine Singers conducted by Harry Saltzman. The group enjoyed minor fame performing at Alice Tully Hall and Merkin Hall in Manhattan and recording an LP. She went on to sing with the Summit Chorale for many years and most recently with The Masterwork Chorus, both based in New Jersey. A career highlight included a performance this past holiday season of Handel’s Messiah with The Masterwork Chorus at Carnegie Hall.
She was a member of the Ethical Culture Society in Maplewood, and later a member of The Morristown Unitarian Fellowship for many years.
Helen was predeceased by sister Estelle Schaff. She leaves her sister, Elayne Dimond, her devoted companion Edward B. Harris, her son Neal Winters and daughter-in-law Janet Fredericks, daughter Jenifer O’Neill and son-in-law Jim O’Neill, and four grandchildren, Hannah, Elias, James and Benjamin.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations be made to The New York Foundling Hospital.