|Death: ||Jun. 6, 1972|
BUSINESS WOMAN, SOCIALITE, PHILANTHROPIST
Helen youngest of two daughters, Frederick G. Bonfils and Belle B Bonfils born in 1889, attended Denver's Miss Wolcott School, then finished in Maryland at the National Park Seminary. Known as the "apple of her father's eye" she became tall, beautiful and elegant. Inheriting her father's great wealth.
As a child she loved putting on plays in her family's mansion in Denver's Cheesman Park. She loved; more so, was addicted to the Tabor Grand Opera House and Elitch's Theatre. It was at the Elitch Theatre she began her acting career. This is where she met her first husband George Somnes. They were married in 1935. George must have reminded her so much of her father who died in 1933. Her mother died in 1935. Following her father's wishes, Helen eventually took charge of the Denver Post. She served as treasure, secretary, and in 1966 became president. Her goal was to keep the paper under local control. Known as, "Miss Helen" she insisted on two-dozen fresh yellow roses in the lobby each day. Helen was controlling stockholder for 35 years.
While at the Post, Helen became a serious philanthropist. Giving to countless causes including the Central City Opera, University of Denver, Denver Zoo, Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the Dumb Friends League-it has been said she loved dogs and cats so much she filled her home on Washington St with strays. She established the Belle Bonfils Memorial Blood Center named after her mother.
In 1946, she took charge of the Elitch's Theatre, and in 1953 built the Bonfil's Theatre on East Colfax Ave at Elizabeth Street for $1.25 million dollars. Later to be known as the Lowenstein Theatre and then the Tattered Cover Book Store. George died in February of 1956 and while Helen was spending time in New York with stage productions, she meet lawyer, Donald Seawell, became business associates and close friends.
Inducted into Colorado Women's Hall of Fame 1985
Helen reflecting her life felt as if, "I haven't done much, I always felt like I lived in my father's shadow".
Fairmount-Distinguished Colorado Women 1997
Rocky Mountain News, Helen Bonfil's gifts built quality of life in Denver 2006
Colorado Women's, Hall of Fame 2011
Frederick Gilmer Bonfils (1860 - 1933)
Belle Barton Bonfils (1867 - 1935)
George Somnes (____ - 1956)*
Mary Madeline Bonfils Stanton (1883 - 1962)*
Helen Gilmer Bonfils (1889 - 1972)
Plot: Mausoleum Chapel Private Room 27
Created by: Fern Bray
Record added: Mar 04, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 66501858