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Helen Elizabeth Scruggs Horvath

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 14th, 2010


Helen Horvath
Helen Elizabeth Scruggs Horvath, of South Beach, Ore., died of natural causes on July 1, 2010 near Ona Beach.

She was born Sept. 1, 1931 to Thomas Murphy Scruggs and Helen Elizabeth (Eagleson) Scruggs in St. Louis, Missouri. Her life was varied and full of interesting accomplishments. She met her husband Joseph Leslie Horvath while at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., and, after graduation, they married in September 1955. She earned a master’s degree in art history in 1957. In the late 1950s, she worked as a secretary at the various U.S. Air Force bases where Joe was stationed. They spent a happy two years in Japan from 1959 to 1961. She received a master’s degree in library science in 1963 from the University of Illinois. After the birth of their children, she and Joe moved to Corvallis, Ore., in early 1964, to be close to family.

She worked at the Corvallis Public Library in 1964, and in 1965 started working as a cataloger at OSU’s Kerr Library, a career she loved. In 1970 she was promoted to Head of the Catalog Department. She attended the Episcopal Church and enjoyed singing in the choir. She regularly biked to work, to church, and took up bicycling as a weekend hobby. She spent the summer of 1984 on a solo bike tour through France and Germany.

Being productive and serving others was important to Helen and she headed to Malawi, Africa for two years in the Peace Corps in 1987, after her retirement from OSU Kerr Library. In Malawi she set up a new library, and filled it with books donated by friends and colleagues at home in the U.S.

She spent most of the 1990s living in Salem, Ore. near her twin brother Thomas and his wife Jaynie, and working at the Marylhurst University Library and volunteering at Oregon State Library. Her many hobbies included folk dancing, duplicate bridge, clogging, bicycling and nature travel.

She moved back to Corvallis in 2002. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2004, but continued to be an active member of the Church of the Good Samaritan congregation, and participated in classes such as Tai Chi and bridge at the senior center. Walking around town was a large part of her daily routine.

Her son Eric and his family moved her to South Beach, Ore. in May 2010, to allow her as much independence and loving family surroundings as possible in the late stages of her disease. Her many years of living with Alzheimer’s came to an end on a beautiful, sunny day on the Oregon Coast. She was singing the “happy song” to the very end.

She is survived by her daughter Margaret (Randy) Krichbaum, and son, Eric (Claire) Smith, and grandchildren Zachary and Phoebe Horvath.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 24, at the Church of the Good Samaritan, 333 NW 35th St. in Corvallis. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Nature Conservancy or Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Affordable Burial and Cremation in Newport is handling arrangements.








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