ForeverMissed
Helen Pantas Hawkins of Rocklin, California, passed away at the age of 98 on May 24, 2021 while convalescing from surgery as a result of a broken hip.  Helen was a career Registered Nurse and retired state employee who worked as a student health nurse at CSUS and later as a MediCal fraud investigator until her retirement.  She is survived by sons David White of Rocklin and Michael Hawkins of Markleeville, daughter-in-law Elizabeth Hawkins, stepsons Dennis Hawkins, Thomas Hawkins, Stephen Hawkins, Robert Hawkins, Jr.  and  stepdaughter Deborah Reilly and an extended East Coast family including her sister, Georgia Neydorff of Suffield, CT, and numerous nieces and nephews scattered along the Atlantic seaboard, as well as extended overseas family in Greece and Australia.  She is also survived by her grandchildren Michael and Shannon White, and Andrew and Philip Hawkins, all of California.  Special mention should be made of Marina Hernandez, her best friend and former co-worker, who visited regularly, often bringing hot meals and  fresh flowers in the final year or two of Helen's life. 
Helen was born in Amsterdam, NY, the third of six children born to Greek immigrants Anthony and Athena Pantas.  After graduating high school, she was awarded a government nursing scholarship at a time when nurses were in critical demand to care for wounded military personnel returning from service in World War II.  At the end of the war, she met and ultimately married her first husband, James White, and had three sons:  David  White, Michael Hawkins (born Michael White, later adopted by second husband Robert Hawkins Sr.) and Richard White, who preceded her in death in 2009.  Much of Helen's adult life was spent as a fierce advocate for the rights of developmentally delayed individuals,  along with sons David and Michael.  Youngest son Richard was developmentally delayed and a resident of Sonoma Developmental Center throughout most of his life.  His passing hit her especially hard, but only deepened her resolve to redouble her advocacy for others like him.
Helen loved travel, and explored Europe, the Mediterranean and Australia, discovering several branches of her family tree in these locations.  She was an avid music lover and longtime member of The Springtones, a well-known vocal ensemble in the Roseville/Rocklin (California) area.  
In lieu of flowers, it is requested that contributions in Helen's name be made to VOR, a national non-profit advocacy organization with which she was actively associated for decades on behalf of her son Richard and his fellow residents at Sonoma Developmental Center.   VOR's mission is, and has always been, advancing the rights of the intellectually delayed to have the highest quality of life possible (www.vor.net).

Helen's life was a stunning example of service to others.  The number of charitable organizations to which she contributed over the course of her lifetime is incalculable.  She will be missed but never forgotten!
Posted by Paul Ferrario on June 28, 2021
I always admired Helen's demeanor at meetings, and her advocacy efforts. Like so many others I observed at the PHA meetings, especially at the March legislative meeting, when she'd take the mic. I'd say to myself, "Oh good, Helen's getting her chance to speak..." There really wasn't a "poor" speaker among the PHA member and supporters. Because of their compassion and sincereity they energized each other. We had no idea how carefully the "deck of cards was stacked against us..." by the career poiticians, ideologues, aides & analysts...yet with Helen's and others' combined efforts it took many decades to close the state hospitals. I got to know Helen a lot better during three VOR Washington DC trips. She told me of her extensive rose bush garden which, the weekley trimming of old blooms would fill her "green" recycling garbage can. She saw the value of VOR long before it caught on within PHA. At those muggy June D.C. trips a group of us would take an evening walk to the Union RR Station, enjoy an ice cream, and people watch. Now she's watching down on us...God Bless her. --Paul Ferrario
Posted by Rene' Hardrath on June 22, 2021
Helen was always a joy to be around at Monday night bible study.
She had wonderful stories to share regarding her faith. She was very inquisitive when it came to understanding the Holy Bible, as she wanted to understand every verse the way God intended.
I know you will watch over David. I know he is missing you so much. I can only imagine what you are seeing up in heaven with Jesus! AMEN!!!
Until we meet again, enjoy paradise!
Posted by Mary Grangoff on June 21, 2021
I've always admired Helen Hawkins from a far during our many meetings at the Sonoma Developmental Center for our dear disabled loved ones. Helen was persistent and knew what was important for the disabled and wasn't afraid to speak out on their behalf. She was a gift to all. God's peace to David, Michael and all the family as you mourn the loss of Helen.

You are all in my prayers and thoughts.
Posted by Tamie Hopp on June 20, 2021
It has been many years since I have had the honor of advocating alongside Helen and David, faithful members of VOR for many years (decades!), but really seems like just yesterday. Helen did well to prepare her sons for advocacy for their brother, Richard. Helen and David, in particular, were a dynamic duo in Washington, D.C., visiting Congress, imploring members to see individuals with intellectual disabilities as individuals, each needing uniquely personal supports. The countless hours spent in Congressional offices, on the phone, writing letters and mentoring others in this important advocacy is Helen's legacy, which lives on. Sympathies to her family. What a blessing Helen was to this world.
Posted by Terry DeBell on June 19, 2021
What a truly lovely and wonderful woman! I had not seen Helen in many years, but the memory of her energy and a sparkle that radiated to everyone around her, combined with her strength and energy, is unforgettable. 
Helen was certainly formidable, especially when involved in her very important work of advocating for people with disabilities, and their families. Her clinical nursing background was invaluable in her advocacy, and certainly an inspiration to me. Although not very tall, when she stood and testified in family / legislative / official meetings, she was a powerhouse. She was also a truly kind person, and I am so glad that I knew her. My condolences to her family and friends.
Posted by David White on June 14, 2021
You were a good mom.  Not perfect, but pretty damn good. I only wish you had stuck around a couple more years to celebrate your centennial, but I understand why you couldn't. Watch over us from that better place where you now live, and say Hi to Richard for me.

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Posted by Paul Ferrario on June 28, 2021
I always admired Helen's demeanor at meetings, and her advocacy efforts. Like so many others I observed at the PHA meetings, especially at the March legislative meeting, when she'd take the mic. I'd say to myself, "Oh good, Helen's getting her chance to speak..." There really wasn't a "poor" speaker among the PHA member and supporters. Because of their compassion and sincereity they energized each other. We had no idea how carefully the "deck of cards was stacked against us..." by the career poiticians, ideologues, aides & analysts...yet with Helen's and others' combined efforts it took many decades to close the state hospitals. I got to know Helen a lot better during three VOR Washington DC trips. She told me of her extensive rose bush garden which, the weekley trimming of old blooms would fill her "green" recycling garbage can. She saw the value of VOR long before it caught on within PHA. At those muggy June D.C. trips a group of us would take an evening walk to the Union RR Station, enjoy an ice cream, and people watch. Now she's watching down on us...God Bless her. --Paul Ferrario
Posted by Rene' Hardrath on June 22, 2021
Helen was always a joy to be around at Monday night bible study.
She had wonderful stories to share regarding her faith. She was very inquisitive when it came to understanding the Holy Bible, as she wanted to understand every verse the way God intended.
I know you will watch over David. I know he is missing you so much. I can only imagine what you are seeing up in heaven with Jesus! AMEN!!!
Until we meet again, enjoy paradise!
Posted by Mary Grangoff on June 21, 2021
I've always admired Helen Hawkins from a far during our many meetings at the Sonoma Developmental Center for our dear disabled loved ones. Helen was persistent and knew what was important for the disabled and wasn't afraid to speak out on their behalf. She was a gift to all. God's peace to David, Michael and all the family as you mourn the loss of Helen.

You are all in my prayers and thoughts.
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Warmest wishes and prayers to heal your hearts

Shared by Mary KHOSHMASHRAB on June 14, 2021
Mike, please except my warmest and most heartfelt prayers for the loss of your beautiful mom.  Wow, is all that comes to my mind as I read what an amazing, accomplished woman she was. Her drive for life and what was important to her was clearly present. Thank you for sharing who she was and what she gave to society. My prayers are with you and the family during this difficult time. You must be so proud and surely blessed to have her as your mom and your boys a grandmom. 

Love always,
Mary