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Helen Budzanoski Simyak, of Mohnton, passed away on Sunday, 18 February 2018 at the Mifflin Center in Shillington.
The daughter of Joseph and Anna Budzanoski, she was born on 20 February 1919 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Raised in western Pennsylvania, she was accomplished in school, earning 4th place in the US National Forensics League public speaking competition in 1936 in the category of Humorous Interpretation with a piece that she wrote herself. Helen attended California State Teacher’s College (now California University of Pennsylvania) and graduated in 1941 with a BS in education, majoring in English and speech therapy. She received a Reading Specialist certification from Temple University and did graduate work in remedial reading at Penn State University’s Continuing Education Program.
Helen worked extensively with K-12 students diagnosed with reading disabilitiesand adults. For over 15 years, she served as a volunteer reading consultant to the Delaware County Literacy Council (DCLC) and was active in the council’s program development as a tutor-trainer, evaluator, and diagnostician. In recognition of her service, the DCLC created the Helen B. Simyak Tutor of the Year Award in her honor.
She was the author of the Reading and Spelling Via Phonics (RSvP) step-by-step reading program (rsvp-books.com), used in multiple schools to teach reading to those challenged to learn this necessary life skill through traditional methods.
Helen was active in her community, serving as the director of the Rosemont Rollicks in Rosemont, PA, as well as a leader in Democratic Women’s activities in Delaware County in the 1960s. She was also an accomplished actress, performing for many years in the 1950s at the Pittsburgh Playhouse in plays such as The Crucible and Girl on the Via Flaminia.
A former resident of West Mifflin, PA and Rosemont, PA, Helen was the wife of Steve S. Simyak and the mother of Donald J. Simyak, who predeceased her. She was the mother-in-law to Margie (Blesi) Simyak, who also predeceased her.
She is survived by her children Steve and Sheila (Guadagno) Simyak of Mohnton, PA; Monica (Simyak) and George Bonina of Burke, VA; Richard and Cindy (Sadlowski) Simyak of Beacon, NY; and Mary Lynne (Simyak) and Christopher Nielsen of Westfield, NJ; as well as 11 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, 3 March 2018 at 11:00 AM at St. John Baptist de la Salle Church, 42 Kerrick Road, Shillington, PA 19607.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the DCLC at https://delcoliteracy.org/donate/.