Former Burbank schoolteacher and current resident Helen Von Seggern celebrated her 107th birthday on Dec. 12. One of her mantras to a long life is, “Always have something to look forward to.”
“Delta Kappa Gamma Society International’s Beta Epsilon chapter could not be more excited for her,” a spokesperson said. “2020 marked her 50th year as an active member of this chapter in which she fulfilled many roles from chapter secretary to vice president. Until the onset of the pandemic, Helen attended meetings faithfully, greeted members with an enthusiastic smile, and was ready to engage in social discussions on topics ranging from the latest educational trends to the politics affecting education today on a national scale.”
Von Seggern started her career in 1952 in Escondido, teaching high school English. After six years, she moved to Burbank where she began as a preschool classroom assistant and then quickly became a preschool teacher. Her innovative nature and expertise lead to her directing role as resource teacher for the Parent Education Program, located on the grounds of Burbank Unified Schools’ Adult Education Center. She touched countless parents and children through this position from 1976 until 2001, when she retired.
Before retiring, she received the distinction of being honored by the California Department of Education with the Program of Excellence Award in 1998. To celebrate her career and indelible mark on the Burbank community, the Adult School auditorium was renamed in tribute to her years of dedication and achievement.
In addition to teaching for Burbank Unified schools, she is an active member of Burbank First United Methodist Church. Members there recall her as the church’s preschool teacher in excess of 40 years. Other church members think of her as a world traveler, having gone on many church-based overseas trips. In her travels, she established friendships from Russia to Jerusalem.
“Helen is a ball of fire,” said her longtime friend Diane Lang. “She recently visited Descanso Gardens with my boyfriend and me, and we couldn’t keep up with her. She loves the Burbank Symphony and the L.A. Chamber Orchestra and especially friends who attend concerts with her. She never misses church and is always serving on one or more committees.”
Von Seggern is among that rare group of people born before World War I. In her age bracket, she is joined by roughly 90,000 Americans living life over 100 years of age.
“Still able to enjoy life, Helen continues to be a rare and valued asset to family and those fortunate to call her friend,” a statement said. “She enjoys using her iPad to stay up on the news and access books. Among other things on Helen’s bucket list is skiing. Hopefully Helen will be able to make it to the snow after the pandemic reaches its culmination.”