ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Helga Speyer, 84 years old, born on May 10, 1937, and passed away on May 31, 2021. We will remember her forever.
Posted by Nikola Müller on June 22, 2022
Meine liebe Helga,

es ist Sommer und Zeit für Italien. Und wieder muss ich daran denken, dass wir einmal zusammen an den Lago Maggiore fahren wollten, du, Hermann und ich. Leider ist nichts draus geworden. Und dann konnte Hermann nicht mehr reisen. Und dann konntest du nicht mehr reisen. Nun seid ihr beide abgereist, für immer, aber seid mir nah wie immer. Was ist das nur mit dem Tod, der alles einebnet, alles Helle und Leichte und Schöne mit sich fortnimmt und alles dunkel und schwer macht? Der Schmerz wird weniger, hast du gesagt, aber die Leere bleibt. Ja, so empfinde ich es auch.

Dein Geburtstag, vier Tage später Hermanns Todestag, der dritte schon, sechs Tage danach reiste ich nach Italien. Ich bin durch Neapel geschlendert und habe in der Hängematte unter Zitronenbäumen gefaulenzt, bin auf Berge im Cilento gewandert und an deinem Todestag in der untergehenden Sonne zwischen den griechischen Tempeln von Paestum gewandelt. Den Tempeln wird gerne ein Hauch von Ewigkeit zugeschrieben, aber auch sie werden irgendwann Staub sein. Ob 2.500 Jahre oder ein Menschenleben, alles vergeht, nichts bleibt. Du hättest gelacht und mir geraten, gerade darum jede Minute, die mir gegeben ist, zu genießen. Und ich meinte, ein rotes Kopftuch, dich gegen die Sonne zwischen den Säulen aufblitzen zu sehen.

Du fehlst mir.

Deine Nikola



My dear Helga,

It is summer and time for Italy. And again I remember that we once wanted to go to Lake Maggiore together, you, Hermann and me. Unfortunately, nothing came of it. And then Hermann couldn't travel anymore. And then you couldn't travel anymore. Now you've both left, forever, but you're as close to me as ever. What is it about death that levels everything, takes away everything bright and light and beautiful, and makes everything dark and heavy? The pain becomes less, you said, but the emptiness remains. Yes, that's how I feel too.

Your birthday, four days later the anniversary of Hermann's death, the third already, six days after that I traveled to Italy. I strolled through Naples and lazed in a hammock under lemon trees, hiked up mountains in Cilento, and on the anniversary of your death walked among the Greek temples of Paestum in the setting sun. The temples like to be credited with an air of eternity, but even they will eventually be dust. Whether 2,500 years or a human lifetime, everything passes, nothing remains. You would have laughed and advised me, precisely for that reason, to enjoy every minute that is given to me. And I meant to see a red headscarf, to see you flashing against the sun between the columns.

I miss you.

Love, Nikola
Posted by Bettina Speyer on May 10, 2022
May has always been an important month for me. In France, on May 1st, you give a bunch of lillies of the valley to your loved ones, they are sold at every street corner. Then on May 8th, it is the end of World War II but also my mother, Andrea's birthday. She would have turned 100 this year. It is also Mother's day, and last but not least, Helga's birthday. Now both my mom and Helga are watching over as I wish I could send them a bunch of lillies of the valley. I miss them terribly.
Posted by Georg F. Langheld on June 5, 2021
Andy,
please accept my sympathy on the loss of your mother. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Posted by Nikola Müller on June 4, 2021
Meine liebste Helga,

es bricht mir das Herz, dass du gestorben bist, dass du nun auch gestorben ist. Ich fühlte, dass unser letztes Gespräch unser letztes sein würde, aber mir fehlte der Mut für "letzte Worte", und du wolltest davon auch nichts wissen.
Ich war immer verrückt nach dir, schon als Kind. Du warst meine einzige Tante, die ich nicht "Tante" nennen musste, – und du warst ja überhaupt auch meine einzige Tante. Du hast mit mir immer auf Augenhöhe gesprochen, auch als ich klein war, und du bitz immer mit mir in mein Zimmer gegangen, wolltest meine Welt teilen.
Du hast mir beigebracht, dass man an roten Ampeln nicht stehenbleiben muss (wenn nichts kommt). Eine sehr wichtige Lektion für mein Leben.
Und du hattest rote Haare.
Ich fühlte mich dir oft nah wie einer Schwester, und du warst eine lebendige Verbindung zu meinen Eltern, denen du sehr nah gewesen warst, allen beiden. Du hast viel dafür getan, dass sie überhaupt wieder zusammengekommen sind. Ja, wahrscheinlich gäbe es meine Brüder und mich ohne dich gar nicht.
Und du hast einen wundervollen Sohn.
Helga, grüß mir all meine Toten und schmeiß eine prachtvolle Party mit ihnen. Und wenn du magst, so ruhe in Frieden.
Andrew, mein tief empfundenes Beileid. Ich bin in Gedanken bei dir und deiner Familie.
Mit all meiner Liebe über den Ozean,

Niko


My dearest Helga,

it breaks my heart that you have died, that you have now died too. I felt that our last conversation would be our last, but I lacked the courage for "last words", and you didn't want to know about it either.
I was always crazy about you, even as a child. You were my only aunt whom I didn't have to call "aunt", - and you were my only aunt at all. You always talked to me at eye level, even when I was little, and you always went into my room with me, wanting to share my world.
You taught me that you don't have to stop at red lights (if nothing is coming). A very important lesson for my life.
And you had red hair.
I often felt close to you like a sister, and you were a living link to my parents, to whom you had been very close, to both of them. You did a lot to get them back together at all. Yes, probably my brothers and I wouldn't even exist without you.
And you have a wonderful son.
Helga, say hello to all my dead and throw a splendid party with them. And if you like, rest in peace.
Andrew, my deepest condolences. My thoughts are with you and your family.
With all my love across the ocean,

Niko
Posted by Fred Capozziello on June 3, 2021
Hi Andy,
Please accept my condolences on the loss of your mom. She sounded like a very special person and a great mother. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.
Posted by Steven Hinchey on June 2, 2021
Andy, I am so sorry to hear about your mother passing.  I wish I could have met the mom who raised such a good man. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Posted by Ralph Zingarella on June 2, 2021
Hi Andy
Please accept my condolences on the loss of your Mom. Knowing you she must have been a very dignified and classy woman - The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Take care my friend

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Nikola Müller on June 22, 2022
Meine liebe Helga,

es ist Sommer und Zeit für Italien. Und wieder muss ich daran denken, dass wir einmal zusammen an den Lago Maggiore fahren wollten, du, Hermann und ich. Leider ist nichts draus geworden. Und dann konnte Hermann nicht mehr reisen. Und dann konntest du nicht mehr reisen. Nun seid ihr beide abgereist, für immer, aber seid mir nah wie immer. Was ist das nur mit dem Tod, der alles einebnet, alles Helle und Leichte und Schöne mit sich fortnimmt und alles dunkel und schwer macht? Der Schmerz wird weniger, hast du gesagt, aber die Leere bleibt. Ja, so empfinde ich es auch.

Dein Geburtstag, vier Tage später Hermanns Todestag, der dritte schon, sechs Tage danach reiste ich nach Italien. Ich bin durch Neapel geschlendert und habe in der Hängematte unter Zitronenbäumen gefaulenzt, bin auf Berge im Cilento gewandert und an deinem Todestag in der untergehenden Sonne zwischen den griechischen Tempeln von Paestum gewandelt. Den Tempeln wird gerne ein Hauch von Ewigkeit zugeschrieben, aber auch sie werden irgendwann Staub sein. Ob 2.500 Jahre oder ein Menschenleben, alles vergeht, nichts bleibt. Du hättest gelacht und mir geraten, gerade darum jede Minute, die mir gegeben ist, zu genießen. Und ich meinte, ein rotes Kopftuch, dich gegen die Sonne zwischen den Säulen aufblitzen zu sehen.

Du fehlst mir.

Deine Nikola



My dear Helga,

It is summer and time for Italy. And again I remember that we once wanted to go to Lake Maggiore together, you, Hermann and me. Unfortunately, nothing came of it. And then Hermann couldn't travel anymore. And then you couldn't travel anymore. Now you've both left, forever, but you're as close to me as ever. What is it about death that levels everything, takes away everything bright and light and beautiful, and makes everything dark and heavy? The pain becomes less, you said, but the emptiness remains. Yes, that's how I feel too.

Your birthday, four days later the anniversary of Hermann's death, the third already, six days after that I traveled to Italy. I strolled through Naples and lazed in a hammock under lemon trees, hiked up mountains in Cilento, and on the anniversary of your death walked among the Greek temples of Paestum in the setting sun. The temples like to be credited with an air of eternity, but even they will eventually be dust. Whether 2,500 years or a human lifetime, everything passes, nothing remains. You would have laughed and advised me, precisely for that reason, to enjoy every minute that is given to me. And I meant to see a red headscarf, to see you flashing against the sun between the columns.

I miss you.

Love, Nikola
Posted by Bettina Speyer on May 10, 2022
May has always been an important month for me. In France, on May 1st, you give a bunch of lillies of the valley to your loved ones, they are sold at every street corner. Then on May 8th, it is the end of World War II but also my mother, Andrea's birthday. She would have turned 100 this year. It is also Mother's day, and last but not least, Helga's birthday. Now both my mom and Helga are watching over as I wish I could send them a bunch of lillies of the valley. I miss them terribly.
Posted by Georg F. Langheld on June 5, 2021
Andy,
please accept my sympathy on the loss of your mother. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
her Life

Obituary

Helga Speyer of New York City, a longtime resident of 160 East 84th Street apartment 8C, died on Monday, May 31, 2021, Memorial Day, at The Village on Kensington Place, Meriden, Connecticut. Her husband, Gunther Speyer, predeceased her in 2000.

Helga Lina Müller was born to Ernst Heinrich and Albertine Bertha Caroline (Lina) Müller
on May 10, 1937, in Bremen, Germany. A child during World War II, Helga withstood the frequent Allied bombings and perils of war.  Mrs. Speyer was educated in Bremen public schools. Upon finishing her Baccalaureate, she took a two-year work visa in New York City, where she learned English by typing the scripts of daytime soap operas. She later worked in the Empire State Building for a paper and aluminum import/export business.  After dating her boss, Gunther Speyer, she returned home to Germany only to be chased by Gunther, who proposed and then married Helga on January 12, 1962, at City Hall in Bremen.

Returning to New York, Helga and Gunther moved into a rent stabilized new apartment in 1962. After giving birth to her only child, Mrs. Speyer stayed at home for ten years to raise her son. The family’s time in New York was interrupted for eighteen months by a relocation to Frankfurt, Germany by Mr. Speyer’s company Lechner Medals of Greenwich, Connecticut, after which they returned to their apartment on 84th street.

In 1982, Mrs. Speyer returned to the work force as an administrative assistant, first for a lawyer and then a financial investment firm. She survived the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and shortly thereafter retired.

Helga was an avid hostess and cook. She enjoyed large dinner parties with friends and family and always insisted on cooking the meal from scratch. She believed in the bonds made over food and spirits. She was a hidden artist who drew various sketches and later loved to pencil in adult coloring books. She embroidered Christmas stockings for her grandchildren, enjoyed complex 1000-piece puzzles, and read the entire New York Times daily.

Mrs. Speyer loved to travel in Europe, enjoyed the beach in the Hamptons to the point she moved with her son to a rental in Sag Harbor from Memorial Day to Labor Day with her husband joining them on weekends, played tennis, and sat by the ocean. She was a true and trusted friend and kept up relationships, mostly over the telephone, with a wide range of family and friends. 

Mrs. Speyer is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Andrew and Clare Speyer of Wallingford, Connecticut, as well as a step daughter Barbara Hochman of Jerusalem, Israel, and two grandchildren, Elizabeth and Edward Speyer, and two step-grandchildren, Michael and Benjamin Hochman. She was also very close to Gunther’s nephew and wife, Tom and Bettina Speyer, of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, and Barbara’s husband’s family. Helga survived two brothers, Rudy (died in Sevastopol, 1941) and Erich Müller (died 1989), of Bremen. Mrs. Speyer has been an active aunt to Erich’s children Jürgen, Peter (Pelle), and Niko Müller, all of whom reside in Germany.

Mrs. Speyer loved all that New York could offer from musicals to art showings to simply walking the sidewalks.  She enjoyed fine food and frequented lobster, Chinese, and French restaurants on the upper east side. She went to a German butcher in the same Yorkville neighborhood for 57 years until she moved to Connecticut to be closer to her son. She was the lynchpin in a complex family of mixed religions, backgrounds, and physical locations.

A private service will be held for Helga Speyer on June 20, 2021. 



Recent stories

Lost my confidante

Shared by Bettina Speyer on June 4, 2021
I probably met Helga for the first time when she visited us in Switzerland with Gunther and Andrew on their way to spend a year in Germany, in the 1970s; Little did I know that Helga would become such an important person in my life. However, our families knew each other as war immigrants in New York in the late 1940’s but it was only when Gunther was married to Helga that the friendship solidified. Helga and my mother would ultimately become extremely close, my mother came to New York every year for 5 weeks and when Gunther got ill, she  stayed with Helga at 84th street. Later, when my parents moved to the US, they sealed that friendship and continued virtually,  talking every night on the phone for the last 10 years or more, until my mother passed away in 2016. I somehow took up the relay and called weekly and we would exchange thoughts on everything but the kitchen sink.

Before moving to New York in 1994, Helga was the one I would call late at night, taking advantage of the different time zones. Midnight in Europe was only 6pm in New York. I  would talk with Helga about my love disappointments, my work anxieties and small issues with my parents. I would also visit both Gunther and Helga every time I came to New York and enjoyed their company..

My conversations with Helga covered a variety of topics from fashion to cuisine to emotions, to health and more. When I decided to move back to the US, Helga offered that I live with her for a while until I figured out what I wanted to do. So on August 24, 1994 I moved in with her. Although 20 years my elder, we were like sisters, chatting through the night, watching movies on the sofa bed in the guest room together. We enjoyed eating german food from Schaller & Weber and spending time together.  It was wonderful. She taught me US etiquette, no wearing of whites before Memorial Day and none after Labor day. That Labor day, she suggested we take a trip on the Hudson river with her sister in law, Gaby on her nephew Tom’s boat. Well, the rest is history, Tom and I have been married for 26 years this year. Helga had been planning and scheming for this for years.  For that alone I will always be grateful to her. So we became relatives by marriage, even though I often thought of Helga as MY aunt! I truly loved her . She was my confidante, my only close friend in the US. Someone who knew my past, my family, my European upbringing, someone who understood my lack of understanding of the American way and who so often gave me invaluable advice. Despite all the "tribulations" she went through from growing up in Germany during WWII, emigrating to America not speaking english and dealing with Gunther's disease, she always seem to carry herself with grace and without resentment or anger, something which I admired a lot.  She was such a good listener but also had so much insight on life, common sense and wrote the most marvelous letters and cards, full of wisdom and wit.

I miss her terribly.

You will never be forgotten.