Helen Meilin Derechin was born in Changzhou, China, in May 1996. However, her life took a significant turn in June 1997 when she was adopted. This moment marked a profound transformation as she wholeheartedly embraced her forever family and embarked on a new chapter in her life’s journey with them. The adoption not only brought her love and support but also opened doors to opportunities and experiences she may not have had otherwise. Helen’s adoption became a defining moment that shaped her identity and instilled in her a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for her family. It was the beginning of a lifelong bond and a testament to the power of love and acceptance.
Early Life and Education
During her formative years in Minneapolis, Helen thrived and blossomed into an extraordinary individual. With the unwavering support of both the Jewish and Chinese communities, she showcased her exceptional academic prowess at Augsburg University. However, it was during her time at St. Paul Academy that the foundation for her future success was laid. Helen’s time at the academy provided her with invaluable experiences and opportunities that shaped her into the remarkable person she is today. With the combined influence of her supportive communities and her educational journey, Helen has emerged as a shining example of determination and achievement.
A Passion for Medical Technology and Caring for Children
Helen had always dreamed of a career in medical technology, but deep down, she knew that her true calling was to work with children in the medical field. Her desire to care for and support others was a driving force behind her decision to make a meaningful impact in the lives of young ones within the healthcare domain. Helen’s passion for helping children was unwavering, and she was determined to use her skills and knowledge to make a difference in their lives. She believed that by working with children in the medical realm, she could provide them with the care and support they needed to thrive and overcome any challenges they may face.
Joyful Activities and Special Bonds
Helen’s life was filled with an abundance of joy and fulfillment, extending far beyond her professional pursuits. She found immense pleasure in a diverse range of activities, such as singing, baking, and hiking. One particular source of happiness was her deep bond with her loyal canine companion, Ty. Helen’s existence was enriched by a multitude of rewarding experiences, from nurturing meaningful relationships to indulging in the flavors of spicy cuisine and basking in the comforting rays of the sun. She embarked on thrilling adventures to exotic destinations like Costa Rica, seeking solace and tranquility in the beauty of nature. Additionally, Helen found great satisfaction in the art of home decorating, creating spaces that reflected her unique style and personality. When it came to dining, she had established favorite spots at Kim’s and Raku restaurants, where she could savor delectable meals and enjoy the ambiance. Overall, Helen’s life was a tapestry of vibrant experiences and cherished moments.
A Proud “Nerd” and Advocate
Helen embraced her identity as a proud “nerd,” openly sharing her love for musicals and science with anyone willing to listen. Her commitment extended beyond personal interests, as she dedicated herself to advocating for adoptee issues and social justice causes. Through her passion and dedication, Helen demonstrated a profound commitment to making a positive impact on the world.
Resilience and Empathy
Resilience and empathy stood out as defining qualities in Helen’s character. Confronting life’s challenges with strength, she exhibited a profound commitment to both her mental and physical well-being. Her relationship with Leora played a pivotal role in shaping her empathetic nature, contributing to the depth of her understanding and compassion.
Philanthropy and the Arts
Helen’s involvement with Red Thread Charities led her to Hangzhou, China, where she engaged with orphans and strengthened her dedication to caring for children. Additionally, she showcased her artistic talents in musical theater productions at various venues, leaving a lasting impact, including performances with CAAM-CDT. Her journey reflected a multifaceted commitment to both philanthropy and the arts.
Adventure and Exploration
Adventure and exploration were integral to Helen’s life. Infused with a spirit of adventure, she delved into the wilderness of Wyoming and Montana, immersing herself in the natural beauty of these landscapes. Her adventurous pursuits extended to a six-week Arctic Circle expedition with Camp Widjiwagan, contributing to her profound love for nature and a life rich in exploration. These experiences added depth and complexity to the tapestry of her life.
Family and Legacy
Helen’s journey is marked by the lasting impact of her grandfathers, William Derechin and George Rothweiler, who preceded her in death. Their memories serve as enduring sources of inspiration and guidance for Helen’s family. She is survived by her parents, Beatrice Rothweiler and Neil Derechin, her sister Leora Derechin, her second parents Aunt Laurie Derechin and Uncle Josep Maria Bonsoms Delmar, her grandmothers Haddie Derechin and Therese Rothweiler, along with numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. The 26 years that Helen shared with them will be forever cherished, and her absence will be deeply felt by her family.
Helen’s family extends their deepest appreciation and gratitude to all the educators, mentors, and caregivers who played significant roles in shaping her life journey. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made in Helen’s name to organizations that held special significance for her, including the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis, Camp Widjiwagan, or CAAM-CDT. These contributions serve as a meaningful way to remember Helen and honor her enduring memory.
A “SHIVA” service is scheduled for Thursday evening, February 1st, at 7 PM at 2221 Youngman Avenue in St. Paul. Additionally, a Memorial Service and Celebration of Life is planned for Thursday, February 15th, from 1-3 PM at Lakewood Cemetery Chapel. Those wishing to attend are encouraged to check the Hodroff-Epstein website for the latest updates on event details, including livestream options.
A Lasting Legacy
Helen Derechin leaves behind an extraordinary legacy characterized by love, learning, and a profound commitment to service. Her memory stands as a priceless blessing, warmly cherished by all those fortunate enough to have known her.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What activities brought joy to Helen?
A: Helen found joy in activities such as singing, baking, and hiking. She shared a special bond with her dog named Ty.
Q: In what causes did Helen advocate for social justice?
A: Helen dedicated herself to advocating for adoptee issues and various social justice matters.
Q: How can I honor and remember Helen?
A: To honor Helen’s memory, donations can be made in her name to organizations close to her heart, including the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis, Camp Widjiwagan, or CAAM-CDT.