Floral 08
Official Obituary of

Helen (Bryan) White

March 2, 1936 ~ March 5, 2024 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Helen White Obituary

Helen Emily White (Bryan) died at the age of 88 on March 5, 2024, in her Greenbelt home with family by her side. She was born on March 2, 1936, to Florence E. and John H. Bryan in Chicago, IL. The Bryan family moved to Washington, DC in the 1940s where they lived on the 1800 block of Newton Street NW in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. Helen graduated from Sacred Heart Academy where she was active in the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) women’s basketball league, and met her husband Thomas X. White at a local CYO dance in 1952. The two married in 1956, raised 7 children and were together for nearly 60 years until his death in 2015.

In 1959 the family moved to Greenbelt, with Helen working night shifts at the Government Printing Office (GPO) to spend daytime hours with her toddler children as Tom completed his degree at the University of MD.  Her boundless energy and initiative enabled her to balance motherhood, work and community support, and before long she had put her expert stenography skills to use in a variety of roles supporting Greenbelt Homes, Inc. (GHI) and Greenbelt Cooperative Services (GCS).  Helen and Tom quickly realized Greenbelt was the perfect place for them, and went on to build a wonderful life around their strong values of faith, family, community engagement and volunteerism. They were heavily involved in the local Catholic parish of St. Hugh’s where their children attended the parochial school. Helen loved coaching the girls’ basketball team at St. Hugh’s in the 1970s and served as a parent sponsor of a neighborhood 4-H group (with a reputation for her baking and sewing talents). Always an advocate for active learning, Helen offered her administrative and accounting skills to the local Eleanor Pernia Dance Studio in exchange for dance lessons for her children. She was a resourceful DIY personality who found time and energy to sew clothes for her children and take on projects ranging from home remodeling to garden landscaping to auto repairs. In 1985, Helen and Tom joined a core group of passionate Greenbelt neighbors to establish the Catholic Community of Greenbelt (a faith community she loved and cherished the rest of her life), yet still remained a dedicated member of the Ladies Sodality and Ladies of Charity at St. Hugh’s. As her children finished school, Helen returned to work full-time for GCS and eventually Georgetown University’s Medical School Faculty Practice until her retirement in 2000. 

Helen lived life to the fullest, yet always made it her highest priority to be the present, listening, supportive mother/friend/grandmother - whenever and wherever needed.  She and Tom developed a tremendous love of travel and curiosity in the strengths and challenges of communities around the world, a passion they imparted to their children and grandchildren.  As family members spread well beyond Greenbelt, Helen welcomed the many travel opportunities they found in retirement, and sought to share those experiences. They organized dozens of unforgettable stateside and international trips with friends, extended family and the ever-increasing number of grandchildren to unique locations in Africa, India, Europe, Australia and New Zealand - resulting in so many vivid, lasting memories that her family and friends will always hold close to our hearts.

Helen was preceded in death by her husband and love of her life Tom, beloved son Jim, and dear brother Dave Bryan.  She is survived by sister and eternal soulmate Anne Nelson, and six children: Bernadette (Marco Sandoval), Christine (Marco D'Ottavi), Mark, Tom (Jennifer Beman), Pam (Carl Quick) and Ellen White.  She'll forever be beaming with pride in her nineteen grandchildren: Michelle, Jonathan, Leslie, Jessica, Marco, Eileen, Alejandro, Beatriz, Miguel, Emilio and Mario Sandoval; Justina (Clark Scheible), Ben, Christopher and Jeremy Quick; Taylor and Morgana D'Ottavi; Stella and Miles White; and her precious great-grandson Forrest Scheible.  Helen was loved dearly, and will also be greatly missed by many nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws and close friends, including her incredible life-long pals from grade school - Helen, Jean Marie and Bob.

A burial service is scheduled for Friday, March 22nd at 11am at the Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery (11301 Crain Highway), with the family hosting lunch at a nearby restaurant following the ceremony.  A celebration of Helen's life is planned for the afternoon of Saturday, March 23rd from 2-5pm at 2-L Gardenway in old Greenbelt.  Donations in Helen's memory (in lieu of flowers) can be made to So Others Might Eat (SOME) -  71 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20001.


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