Obituary of Kristin Helmers

Kristin M(argaret) Helmers died in New York City, NY on June 11, 2022.  She was born on November 2, 1944, in Summit, NJ, to Carl T. and Margaret (Anderson) Helmers.  Two sons, Carl Jr. and Peter, were also born to the family, which resided in Florham Park, NJ.

Kristin graduated from Hanover Park High School in 1962, a member of the National Honor Society and class valedictorian, delivering the commencement address “Tolerance -  The Mark of the Educated Man.” She received a significant scholarship from New York University, where she majored in classics, graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and in 1966 was among the first women admitted to Princeton University for graduate study. She was scheduled to study in Egypt when the Six Day War broke out in June 1967, and the program had to be cancelled.

Following study at Princeton, she returned to New York City and worked at a number of jobs as she pondered “next steps.” These included positions at the National Council of Churches, and in 1972 in the Association of Departments of English at the Modern Language Association.

In 1977, while continuing to work at the MLA, she entered Rutgers School of Law, Rutgers, NJ, during which time she also worked in the law school’s women’s law clinic. After completing her studies in 1980, she was admitted to the bar of New York State and awarded a master’s degree by Princeton University in 1981. She accepted a position with the New York City Consumer Affairs Department, where she worked until joining the Appeals Division in the Office of the Corporation Counsel for the City of New York.

She was admitted to practice in the Southern District of New York in 1984, as well as to the U.S. Court to Appeals for the Second Circuit, renewed most recently in 2014. In 1988 she received the New York City Bar Association award for outstanding achievement as an assistant corporation counsel, and in 1998 was admitted to appear before the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. One of the signatures on the latter certificate was that of her aunt, A. Thacher (Clarke) Anderson, an attorney in practice with the EEOC and later the ACLU.

During the course of Kristin’s 30-year-plus tenure with the NYC Corporation Counsel, she served as Assistant Corporation Counsel and Assistant Chief, Appeals Division prior to her retirement in  2014.  One of her higher profile cases was the litigation involving Ellis Island, pitting New York and New Jersey against each other in their claims to Ellis Island. In 1998 the Supreme Court of the United States decided the case in a (Solomonic!) division of the property - original land vs. “new” land, respectively - between the two.

She was passionate not only about the law, but also about life in New York City and the West Village, which since her undergraduate days she had made her home, about cooking, mystery novels, and her beloved Sheltie dogs Sappho, Xanthippe (Xanty), and Phoebe.

She was preceded in death by her parents, aunts and uncles, and in just April 2022 by her brother Peter. She is survived by her brother Carl (Jean Bidlack), her sister-in-law Sarah (Peter) Helmers and niece Melissa Higbie (Mike Stockman) and family, goddaughter P. Rebecca Johnson, cousins, numerous members of her family-of-choice, close friends, and valued former colleagues.

Her ashes were interred in a private committal service in White Haven Memorial Park, Pittsford, NY, near those of her brother Peter. A memorial gathering will be held on Sunday, November 6, at 2:30 p.m. (EST) at The Mysterious Book Shop, 58 Warren Street, Manhattan, NY.

Funeral Services

Memorial Service

November 6, 2022

2:30 PM

The Mysterious Book Shop

58 Warren St.

New York City, NY 10007

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