homepage logo

Helen Dean

May 13, 2009

Helen “Biddy” Homan Dean, 83, a resident of Sanibel and Harwichport, Mass. died on May 2 at Arden Courts in Fort Myers after a courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was preceded in death by her husband of 20 years, Dr. Wynant Dean.

Biddy grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio with a tight-knit group of siblings and first cousins who became lifelong friends. She graduated from Miss Porter’s School for Girls and Finch Junior College, where she majored in home economics. She loved to travel and lived in Cincinnati, Ohio; Blue Bell, Ivyland and Huntingdon Valley, Pa., in the greater Philadelphia area; Louisville, Ky., where she relocated after her marriage to Dr. Dean; and most recently Sanibel and Harwichport, Mass. where she could be close to the saltwater that she loved.

She lived for two years in Bologna, Italy with her first husband, Richard E. LeBlond Jr. She returned fluent in Italian with a lifelong interest in Northern Italy and its food. She was an accomplished cook and took lessons from well-known Philadelphia chef Julie Dannenbaum.

An avid horticulturalist, she cultivated beautiful gardens bursting with many varieties of daffodils, her favorite flower. She studied horticulture at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and belonged to the Outdoor Gardeners of Montgomery County, Pa. and the American Daffodil Society, where she served as a judge. For many years, she was an active participant in the Philadelphia Flower Show, winning many awards.

She volunteered at Sanibel’s Bailey-Mathews Shell Museum, participated in and helped organize the Sanibel Island Shell shows, and traveled on fossil shelling trips in North and South America, Africa, Fiji, and the Caribbean. A member of the Conchologists of America who won many prizes in area shell shows, Biddy was known in the neighborhood for her daily early morning walks on the beach, where she met friends and admired shells with them.

An expert golfer, Biddy competed for Plymouth Country Club and later Huntington Valley Country Club in Pennsylvania. She stopped playing abruptly when she was refused continued membership as a divorcee.

Biddy’s love of life showed in varied interests that included: horseback

riding, freshwater fly fishing, deep sea fishing, sailing, sewing, detective novels, Frank Sinatra music, the theater and opera.

She is survived by her children, Helen “Hannie” LeBlond Banister, Richard E. LeBlond III, Anne LeBlond Thompson, Laurence Z. LeBlond; and by two grandchildren, Allison Banister Corbett and Richard P. Banister. She also leaves behind a sister, Nancy Homan Burnam Ireland; two stepchildren, Stewart and Sue Dean; and their children and grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Sanibel Shell Museum, 3075 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957 or to the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center, 10051 McGregor Boulevard, Suite 101, Fort Myers, FL 33919.

Funeral arrangements are private. Friends are invited to sign her guestbook at www.horizoncremation.com