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Helene W. Lefco, 86, Devoted to Dance, Writing and Federation

March 19, 2009
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Helene W. Lefco

Helene Wanderman Lefco, 86, died on Feb. 14 in Elkins Park. A writer, dance therapist and philanthropist, she succumbed to Parkinson's disease.

Lefco had a life-long passion for dance and became a dance therapist in the 1960s, working with teenage patients in the Delaware Valley Mental Health Foundation in Doylestown. She wrote about her work in Dance Therapy, a series of case studies, which was published in 1974. Her articles about dance and other topics also appeared in the Ladies Home Journal, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia magazine and Inside magazine.

Lefco was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1992 and continued to work as a therapist until the symptoms of the disease became acute.

She was a native of New York City and attended Cornell University on a scholarship. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree from New York University, and won a trip to Paris in a writing competition.

She worked for Vogue magazine and as a publicist for the Paramount Film Co.

Lefco and her husband, Herman, whom she married in 1945 after a two-month romance, are members of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Legacy Society at the Golden Gate level, which honors those individuals who create a planned or endowment gift of $100,000 or more for Federation programs and initiatives.

The couple traveled several times to Israel and were passionate supporters of the Jewish homeland.

Lefco also played tennis competitively at Philmont Country Club, winning several competitions.

In addition to her husband of 64 years, she is survived by daughter Debbie Lefco; sons Terry Lefco and Tony Lefco; sister Carol Rosenfeld; and four grandchildren.

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