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Tucson Atheists Message Board › Sad News

Sad News

Don L.
Group Organizer
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 193
I'm sure that not many of the members of Tucson Atheists knew Helen Kagin. I didn't know her except to see her at the annual conventions. Even so, I feel it is worth considering her contributions and appreciating her efforts to support young people through Camp Quest where kids found out that, "it was OK to not believe in god."


HELEN KAGIN died early this evening following complications from cancer surgery. She was 76.

Kagin was a heroine and activist in the Atheist movement. Along with her husband, attorney Edwin Kagin, she co-founded Camp Quest, a summer camp for the children of nonbelievers, which has grown into an international outreach. She and Edwin were frequent guests at various conventions, and belonged to several freethought groups.

In 2005, Helen and Edwin were named "Atheists of the Year" at the National Convention of American Atheists. Helen was active in the Free Inquiry Group of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. She worked closely with Edwin and others organizing countless demonstrations and meetings, including the Rally for Reason which attracted hundreds of pro-science supporters who peacefully protested outside the opening of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY.

She was an outstanding wife, mother, friend to so many; and Helen also had an illustrious career as an anesthesiologist

We will miss her infectious laughter, her wonderful friendship and stalwart support for the cause of Reason and state-church separation.

Helen Kagin will be cremated. Edwin Kagin asks that expressions of sympathy in the form of donations be used to send kids to Camp Quest. There will be further announcements, including details of a Memorial event.

(AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a nationwide movement that defends civil rights for Atheists, Freethinkers and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of church and state; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy.)
Don L.
Group Organizer
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 194
From her husband

Helen Kagin Is Dead

Helen Kagin, my wife, and co-founder of Camp Quest, was pronounced dead at
6:55 pm. today, Wednesday, February 17, 2010, at Christ Hospital in
Cincinnati, Ohio.

Helen underwent surgery for lung cancer on January 7, 2010 and never left
the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In conformity with her Living Will, and the
opinions expressed to us by six physicians who strongly concurred, her
daughter Caroline Good and I agreed that dialysis not be started when she
went into renal failure. Helen had been on oxygen for some time, her lungs
leaked air, she had developed fungal pneumonia, and systemic sepsis, her
body had stopped making red blood cells, and she had suffered multiple
systems failures that were incompatible with life. She had been unconscious
for days. I know for a certainty that if she had decision making capacity,
Helen would not have wanted to live on a ventilator and dialysis. Surrounded
by family members, the ventilator was withdrawn and the life force that had
been Helen departed within minutes. And she was dead.

Helen was born Helen McGregor Smith in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada on
January 31, 1934. She attended Medical school at the University of
Saskatchewan and came to Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio as an Intern.
She did her residence there, was employed as an anaesthesiologist there,
worked there until she retired, and she died there today. She was 76 years
old. We celebrated her 76th Birthday in the ICU, but we do not know if she
was aware of the signs, the cards, and the well wishers.

Helen was an accomplished athlete. She was a figure skater, an ice dancer, a
hockey player, a softball player, a swimmer, a fencer, and a superb human
being. She loved the Winter Olympics, and it is fitting indeed that she died
during the Winter Olympics now being held in Canada.

Today is Ash Wednesday. Today is also the anniversary of the death of
Freethought hero Giordano Bruno in 1600. Helen never did Ash Wednesday, and
her death was far more gentle than that of Bruno.

Helen's body is now an empty shell, and it will be treated as such. The body
will be picked up tomorrow by a funeral home and immediately cremated. The
ashes will be given to her daughter Caroline, who has proved her very
substantial character during these past few weeks. A celebration of Helen's
remarkable life will be announced later.

And what a life it was! I am honored to have shared it with her for
twenty-five years. She will be missed beyond my ability to say. She was the
finest human being I have ever known.

If you would honor her accomplishments and memory, do not send flowers; do
not send money to some charity.

Help send a kid to Camp Quest <­ .

Edwin Kagin
A former member
Post #: 161

It would be appropriate to send a letter of condolance to the family from the group at large. If you would be comfortable drafting one, I for one would be willing to sign it. Recognition of contributions is somewhat a comfort to families at the time of death. They obviously "were on the same page" in their thought processes and supportive of each other's values. It may be nice to receive news that others saw her Separation of Church and State as a very valuable service to society.

Sorry to hear of society's loss.

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