Gloucester County Surrogate Helene Reed has passed away. Reed served on the Monroe Township Council in the 1990s. She was elected Freeholder in 2004 and elected Surrogate in 2007.
Her family released the following statement:
“It is with sunken hearts that we regrettably announce that our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and sister, Helene M. Reed, has passed away. While heartbroken in the moment we are comforted by the knowledge that she lived a life that will carry her memory and spirit forward. We are forever grateful for the support and love she was showered with in her final days, but more proud of the way she spent a lifetime earning it. It has been our privilege to witness her dedication to helping others. She truly epitomized what public service is supposed to be and allowed thousands of strangers to see the woman we knew and loved so dearly. To say that she was a role model and an inspiration to each of us would be an understatement. A trailblazer who became the first female to serve on Township Council, it was a privilege to watch her demonstrate that same drive, grace, commitment and dedication through her professional and political life. There was never a challenge she was unwilling to take on, there was never a person she was unwilling to help and there was never a cause she was unwilling to assist. Before serving as the Gloucester County Surrogate for the past ten years, which she considered an honor and a privilege till her very last day, she was a Gloucester County Freeholder for nine years and a Monroe Township Councilwoman for eight years. In addition to her tireless and dedicated elected service to her beloved community and county, Helene also served on the Rowan University Board and, as its Chairperson, helped guide the university through unprecedented periods of growth and transformation. We have been told repeatedly that there was never an organization that she joined that she did not leave in a better place. The same can be said for our lives and the lives of the many friends she held dear and considered extended family. While she will be deeply missed by all who knew her, we hope that her life inspires others the way it has done for us.”
Gloucester County Democratic Chairman and LD4 Senator Fred Madden released the following statement:
“It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to someone very special to us, our Gloucester County Surrogate Helene Reed. Helene’s entire life has been defined by the boundless compassion she had for other people and the ceaseless devotion she had to being there for them. She made a name for herself professionally as Director of Admissions at Kennedy Hospital, a position in which she served with distinction for more than 24 years. It was a natural fit for Helene as it allowed her to ensure aid and comfort for those most in need. Her desire to make a difference continued to grow and led her to public service, which she began on council in Monroe Township. She soon became Monroe Township’s first female council president, establishing her legacy as a trailblazer for women in Gloucester County politics. Helene served three terms as Gloucester County Freeholder before she was sworn in as Gloucester County’s first female Surrogate in 2008. Her tenure as Freeholder was marked by milestone achievements and extraordinary progress within our county, and as Surrogate she once again utilized the personal qualities that made her such a great hospital administrator: her competence, her grace, and her compassion. The Surrogate by nature handles difficult and often times emotionally charged matters pertaining to sensitive family affairs, and Helene always made sure that everyone who came into contact with her office was treated with the utmost kindness and dignity. Her reputation for excellence was such that her fellow Surrogates across the state recommended her for appointment by the New Jersey Supreme Court to the Judiciary-Surrogates Liaison Committee. Other leadership roles included serving as President of the New Jersey Association of Counties and overseeing Rowan University’s phenomenal growth as Board of Trustees Chair. Above all, Helene’s greatest accomplishment was raising her family. She loved them more than anything, and we hold them in our thoughts during this sad time. Gloucester County is a better place because of Helene Reed, and we are forever thankful for her service and friendship. We will miss her.”
CD1 Rep. Donald Norcross said: “I am saddened by the passing of a true public servant, Helene Reed. She was a wonderful woman who devoted her life to helping and serving her community. Helene was an inspiration to many, and I am grateful for the example she set and the legacy she leaves behind. My family sends our thoughts and prayers to her family and loved ones during this difficult time.”
Senate President Sweeney said: “I am truly heartbroken to hear of the passing of my good friend, Surrogate Helene Reed,” said Senator Sweeney. “She dedicated her life to helping others and always put the interest of others before her own. Helene embodied what it meant to be a dedicated public servant. Words can never express how grateful and privileged I am to have known and served side by side with such a caring and loving person. Helene’s legacy will forever be remembered in Gloucester County and throughout the region. My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time. We have lost someone truly special. She will be sorely missed.”