|Birth: ||Dec. 25, 1920|
New Jersey, USA
|Death: ||Mar. 19, 2009|
Helen Tierney Bale
12/25/1920 - 3/20/2009
Helen passed away peacefully after a prolonged illness surrounded by family. She was born in West Paterson, NJ, the youngest daughter of James Joseph Tierney and Catherine Troast. Her sister, Henrietta, died in 1988.
She attended a local grammar school and Central High School in Paterson, NJ. She was editor of the school paper and the senior yearbook and wrote a weekly column of school news for the Morning Call newspaper. After graduation in 1937 she became a reporter for the Paterson Evening News.
She married Wilson Howland Guertin in 1941 and had three children; Lila, Michelle and James. They moved to Iowa and she was a reporter for the local paper in Iowa City and the Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph- Herald where she received a prestigious award for her work on a rural Wisconsin murder case. It was featured on the "Big Story" radio show sponsored by Pall Mall.
She was divorced in 1949 and moved to Rock Island, Ill to work for the Rock Island Argus as a photographer and reporter. She met Hugh Newton Bale there and they were married on Sept. 9, 1950. A year later they moved to Odebolt, Iowa to publish their own paper but that was short lived and they both returned to the Rockford paper. In the early 1950s she began a news journalism career in television at WREX-TV in Rockford, Ill. She was one of the first women in television and in those days everything was live so she had to pitch in wherever needed including sports news, farm news and stock market reporting in addition to her regular show.
In 1955 she and her family moved to Sacramento, CA where she worked at KCRA-TV, which had just begun broadcasting. On Aug. 6, 1957 she was the first woman to pilot a jet through the sound barrier and received an award and recognition as a "mach buster". That was one of the highlights of her career. In 1958 she went to KOVR-TV in Stockton, which later moved to Sacramento and was then bought by McClatchy Newspapers. She was forced to retire because her husband worked for the Sacramento Bee and it was considered a conflict of interest. They moved to Newcastle, CA and built a house that Hugh had designed. Shortly thereafter, in 1966, she began working as associate editor for the Auburn Journal newspaper, which was a weekly paper at the time. In 1972 she became editor of the paper and under her direction it gradually became a daily paper. From 1977 to 1981 she added systems manager for the newly computerized typesetting to her duties as editor and in 1981 she took over the computers full time.
Her husband died in 1989 and she took over as editor for the Silver Times. For several years she hosted a radio show on KAHI in Auburn and continued to write "Through Irish Eyes" for the Auburn Journal and for the IPA Journal, an Irish magazine, until a month before her death.
She also gave her time generously to many community causes including building of the Stadium at Placer High School, and the addition to Auburn Faith Hospital and later it's incorporation into the Sutter organization. She served on the Placer County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission and the Placer County Commission on Aging. In 1986 she became a certified "Master Gardner" through the University of California and helped initiate the local Farmers Market and the establishment of the Senior Gardens at the De Witt Center From 1967-1972 she served as a member of the Placer Joint Union High School Board of Trustees, including serving as president for several years.
She also volunteered for the local Plant-A-Row for the Hungry project, headed the Food Resource program for the Catholic Community of Auburn, was a governing board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Auburn and served on the Placer Grand Jury.
In 2004 she was awarded the "Vernon McCann" award for recognition as an Auburn resident dedicated to community service, a great honor to her.
She is survived by her children, Lila Levinson of Santa Clara, CA, Michelle DuBois of Boxborough, MA and James Bale of Concord, CA., 13 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.
She loved life and her friends and hosted a St. Patrick's Day party a few days before her death. Even in the end she gave to others by donating her body for research to the University of California at Davis.
A memorial Mass and reception will be held at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church in Auburn on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. Please bring stories to share in this celebration of her life.
Donations may be made in her name to Sutter Auburn Faith Hospice, 11775 Education St., Ste. 201 Auburn, CA 95602 OR to Boys and Girls Club, 679 Lincoln Way, Auburn,CA.
Published in Gold Country Media Newspapers on March 29, 2009
Received edit for the 19th not the 20th from:
Sent by: Lila Levinson
Jan 01, 2015 8:19 PM
Body donated to medical science
Created by: Glenda Ragan
Record added: May 16, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69898093