The Estate of Helen Elizabeth Chaney
Upon her death on October 25, 2017, the estate of Helen Elizabeth Chaney of Pittsboro, NC realized a generous gift to the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies which was used to establish an endowed research faculty chair in her name, the Helen E. Chaney Chair in Alcohol Studies. Denise Hien, Ph.D., ABPP, Director of the recently renamed Rutgers Center of Alcohol & Substance Use Studies, has been appointed as the inaugural recipient of this chair by the Rutgers University Board of Governors on October 7, 2020.
About Helen E. Chaney. She was born on August 1, 1927 in Cranford NJ, the daughter of John Francis and Nancy Moose Chaney. In all respects, she embodied the timeless values of compassion and kindness and led her life by this example. She was well loved and known by her warmth, sparkling blue eyes and lively interest in the lives of family and friends. After graduating from Union County College with an Associate Degree she then completed her BA in English at IU in Bloomington, Indiana. While attending IU, Helen dated and fell in love with a returning veteran Lieutenant Richard Jacobs, a business major from Akron Ohio. Upon marrying after graduation, Helen and Richard resided in Rocky River Ohio, a western suburb of Cleveland Ohio. Initially she worked in administration for an architectural firm before turning her joy and talents to raising her family. HEJ, as her family fondly called her, became a mother extraordinaire to her 3 children and partner to her husband, an accomplished shopping center developer. Helen’s natural grace and elegance were ever present in her interactions with others as well as in her many pursuits.
The Golden Rule- a bedrock belief from her Methodist upbringing- was paramount to her character and she led by her gentle and steadfast example. Her love of beauty and creativity were seen in her passion for art and culture, independent films, broad world travels with her beloved late husband, Joe Winpinsinger, smart fashion and tasteful style in the decorative arts and lively current events discourses with family over savory meals prepared with a flair. Helen loved a celebration and could turn April Fool’s Day into a national holiday. She was a bridge and scrabble player, jigsaw and crossword puzzle whiz and a bibliophile of many genres, often whiling away hours reading on the deck of her beloved family beach home at Bald Head Island, NC. In the last decade of her life, Helen was enthralled by a love for gritty detective stories, inspiring family members to become engrossed with gumshoe novels as well, most especially with Norwegian detective author Joe Nesbo. Helen adored her golden retrievers Bjorn, Zeus, Lily and Annie; enjoyed all shades of her signature color blue- matching her sincere and warm blue eyes.
Helen leaves behind a rich legacy in philanthropy having established a student aid fund at Union County College, a research endowment at Johns Hopkins Medical Center and an endowment in her late husband’s name for pancreatic research at the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center. Helen adored spending time with her family and is survived by her sister-in-law Iris Chaney; three children and their spouses, Jeffrey P Jacobs and Lynda Dudley Jacobs of Florida, Nancy L Jacobs and Mark Sandercott of Minnesota, and Marilyn E Jacobs and Richardson Preyer of NC; 12 grandchildren: Claire, Hanna, Renee, Caroline, Richard and J Paul Jacobs; Taffy Leinonen, Layne Stowell and Evan Sandercott; and Rich, Parker and Elizabeth Preyer.