Aston Native Helen Litwa Finds Peace Through Volunteering
Helen Litwa has worn many hats in her lifetime, which include mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, artist, historian, volunteer, restaurant owner, and good friend.
Litwa, who was raised in Aston Township, speaks passionately and fondly of her childhood, playing in local fields and attending the one room Old Village Green Schoolhouse on Pennell Road.
“I attended first through third grades in the schoolhouse and enjoyed every minute,” Litwa said. “All of the classes were in the same room and we were taught by the same teacher. It was a unique way to learn, but it worked.
I was a country kid. In those days, Aston was primarily farmland and not as it is today. I was used to being on a farm and running barefoot.”
For many years, Litwa has resided in Chester; the city where her mother, Frances Link, was born and raised. She spends countless hours volunteering her time, serving on various committees and organizations.
Litwa is on the board of directors of the Chester Historic Preservation Committee (CHPC) and is currently involved in the massive undertaking of cleaning out the Third Presbyterian Church, located on E. 9th Street, which was sold to the CHPC by the Presbytery of Philadelphia for $1. She also is involved and greatly supports the Chester Made program, which features the artwork of Chester residents, and Art on the Avenue of the States, a gallery displaying local artists work, including her own.
Litwa is a member of the Chester Shade Tree Commission Garden Club and joins with other members to plant flowers throughout the city each spring. She can also be found volunteering at the St. Katherine Drexel food pantry and attends countless city council meetings to keep abreast of the happenings in the city.
In addition to the Old Village Green Schoolhouse, Litwa’s early education included Rockdale School, Green Ridge Elementary School, and finally, she graduated eighth grade from St. Francis de Sales School in Lenni. Litwa then spent the next four years at Notre Dame High School in Moylan.
The mother of five, grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of one, Litwa has a long and storied work career. After graduating from Notre Dame High School, she spent three years at Suburban Loan in Chester. She then moved to Capital Finance and changed careers to become a medical assistant for several physicians.
Litwa retired from a position as an office manager at an OB/GYN office at Riddle Memorial Hospital.
“My mother always told me to retire to something instead of from something, so I took her advice,” Litwa said. “There is great satisfaction in working with others and seeing results.”
Litwa also believes it is important to follow through and not just talk about doing something, but to actually become involved and put your heart and soul into whatever the activity might be.
“We must show our children the importance of respect and keeping memories and history alive,” Litwa said. “It is crucial to the future.”
Litwa is a self-taught artist and has worked in various mediums, including watercolor and oils, but her favorite is drawing in pencil. A few of her favorite drawings include one of the original Chester High School and watercolor of the Third Presbyterian Church.
A woman of strong faith, Litwa said she turns to God for guidance and direction in her life.
“As long as I am able, I will continue to volunteer and work closely with others,” she said. “It is what I enjoy doing and it keeps me young.”