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Obituaries » Helen Caswell

Helen Caswell

January 4, 2018

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CASWELL, Helen Rayburn 1923 – 2018 Helen Rayburn Caswell, born March 16th, 1923, in Long Beach, California, passed away January 4th, 2018, at her home in Occidental. She was 94. Helen grew up in Eugene, Oregon, where she met her beloved husband of 72 years, Dwight Alan Caswell. They married in 1942, before Dwight joined the Navy. After World War II, they settled in Saratoga in the Santa Clara Valley, where they raised their five children. Helen showed a talent for art at an early age, drawing cartoon characters on the back of her mother’s bank book during church. In Saratoga, Helen began a very successful career as artist and children’s portrait painter, displaying in galleries in Carmel, teaching workshops, and teaching at home. In addition to her work as a portrait artist, Helen wrote and illustrated over 30 books for children and adults. When asked what her favorite subjects in art were she replied, “Children, gardens, and cats!” In 1981, Helen and Dwight moved to Occidental in Sonoma County. There Helen designed the stained glass window for the Sebastopol United Methodist Church, participated in Art Trails and Art at the Source, painted murals at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco and at the Elizabeth Seton Center in Menlo Park, cooked for everyone who lived there or came by, and became an active granny and great-grandmother. At the end of her life, when she needed help, children, children-in-law, and grandchildren were there for her 24/7. We are so grateful. Helen is survived by her children Dwight Caswell of Astoria, Oregon; Philip Caswell of Occidental; Mary Caswell Walsh of Vallejo; and John Caswell of Turlock. Helen is also survived by her 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Her son Christopher Caswell passed away in 2013, and her husband Dwight passed away in 2015. A memorial service for Helen will be held on Saturday February 3rd, at 11:00 a.m. at Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa, California.