Helen Louise French Ide, wife of former Mission Director Carter Ide, was born in Omaha, NE on June 19, 1924, the only child of William E. and Edna E. French. Her people were from Kansas and Indiana, but she grew up in Boulder City, NV, where her parents migrated during the Depression. Her memories of Las Vegas went back to when it was home to tent neighborhoods with dusty roads where she and her mother lived while her father helped to build Boulder (now Hoover) Dam and the homes that became Boulder City. All her life, she would gladly describe herself as a “desert rat.” She was valedictorian of the first graduating class of Boulder City High School, and Phi Beta Kappa at Pomona College where she majored in Spanish and music.
Helen married William Carter Ide in 1949 and accompanied him to Washington, DC and Foreign Service posts in Denmark, France, Pakistan, Dominican Republic, India and Nepal. While traveling the world, she raised seven children and graciously fulfilled the social expectations of the diplomatic life. In each new location, Helen was noted for her interest in others and in different cultures, and for her contributions as a Spanish teacher, church organist, pianist, singer, and volunteer. She loved babies, dogs, walks, afternoon tea, sweet things, music, mountains and deserts. In her later years she described herself as a “Zen Episcopalian,” and she followed a daily spiritual practice until she became too frail to continue.
Helen was predeceased by her husband, Carter, in 2007, and her grandson Will in 1996. She is survived by her seven children: Gretchen Kossack (Bob) of Shrewsbury, MA; David Ide (Lian Hu) of Bethesda, MD; Jennifer Taylor-Ide of Franklin, WV; Rebecca Lowe (Tom) of Ojai, CA; Peter Ide (Safa Ghani) of Abijan, Ivory Coast; Susan Patton (Paul) of Vienna, VA; and Nicholas Ide (Laure Redifer) of Washington, DC; eleven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. The family includes in its circle Celestine Denys of Milford, CT; Daniel Taylor of Franklin, WV; Meri Siegel of Falls Church, VA; Julie Ide of Portland, OR; Shree Sharma and family of Olympia, WA and Rita Gurung and family of New York City. The family is very grateful to the many kind and dedicated individuals who provided care to our mother over the past several years, including Shukria Hassan, Jia-ying Liu, and foremost among them Isatu Roberts, who also cared for our father at the end of his life.