Helen Proud went to her eternal reward on June 23, 2022.
Born Helen Marie Ghegan, June 13, 1933 (the Feast of St. Anthony) in Newark, N.J., she was the second of four children of Joseph A. Ghegan and Elizabeth Byrne. There was an older sister, a younger brother and, still surviving, a younger sister.
The family residence was in Irvington, N.J. Her father was a broker of supplies for religious convents in northern New Jersey and later was a certified jeweler. All the children graduated from Catholic colleges.
Helen entered the convent of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, after graduating from St. Vincent’s girls’ academy in Newark. She trained for an R.N. and earned a Bachelor of Science degree at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan and the College of Mount St. Vincent in Riverdale, Bronx. She earned an MBA in hospital administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, and served as administrator at St. Francis Hospital in the Bronx.
When the hospital was closed by the New York archdiocese, Helen returned to her home and later resigned from the religious community. She undertook administrative positions at South Nassau Communities Hospital and at Brooklyn Hospital and then was senior administrator of Beekman Downtown Hospital in lower Manhattan. While there, she happened to receive aerialist Philippe Petite in August 1974, when he was brought in by the police for observation after tightrope walking between the Twin Towers. She was also on duty in January 1975 when victims of the Fraunces Tavern bombing were brought to the hospital.
In 1972, she and her husband, Geoffrey Proud, moved from Brooklyn to Orient, N.Y., and for several years at her home weather station, she was “Helen Proud in Orient,” reporting the morning weather to WOR New York radio.
She obtained a position as assistant administrator of Suffolk County’s community health centers. While in this position, she earned a nursing home administration license at C.W. Post and was appointed to head the county’s new nursing home in Yaphank. When she retired for the county after 38 years, she became a hospice volunteer at East End Hospice. While there she was asked to assist the hospice in obtaining its Joint Commission accreditation. She stayed on at EEH for a number of years as its compliance officer, a part-time position.
She served a term as trustee of Eastern Long Island Hospital. She was president of the Orient Civic Association and was able to persuade Suffolk County to acquire the natural Orient Point land and beach and preserve it as a passive county park.
At home, she cared for her “rescue” puppies and loved a daily swim in the backyard pool. She and her husband were regular members of St. Agnes R.C. Church in Greenport, where for several years she served as a trustee and headed the parish’s annual food and clothing charity drive for the local community.
She is survived by her husband, Geoffrey Proud, and sister Elizabeth (Liz Loftus). Her parents, sister Therese and brother Joseph predeceased her; his widow, Barbara, and her children are also survivors in New Jersey.
Friends and family will gather at Horton-Mathie Funeral Home Friday, July 1, from 3 to 7 p.m. A 10 a.m. Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated July 2 at St. Agnes R.C. Church in Greenport, Father Piotr Narkiewicz presiding. Interment will follow at Orient Central Cemetery.
This is a paid notice.