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Helen Kagin has passed on…

February 18, 2010

This is taken from PZ’s Site:

HELEN KAGIN died early this evening following complications from cancer surgery. She was 76.

Kagin was a heroine and activist in the Atheist movement. Along with her husband, attorney Edwin Kagin, she co-founded Camp Quest, a summer camp for the children of nonbelievers, which has grown into an international outreach. She and Edwin were frequent guests at various conventions, and belonged to several freethought groups.

In 2005, Helen and Edwin were named “Atheists of the Year” at the National Convention of American Atheists. Helen was active in the Free Inquiry Group of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. She worked closely with Edwin and others organizing countless demonstrations and meetings, including the Rally for Reason which attracted hundreds of pro-science supporters who peacefully protested outside the opening of the Creation “Museum” in Petersburg, KY.

She was an outstanding wife, mother, friend to so many; and Helen also had an illustrious career as an anesthesiologist

We will miss her infectious laughter, her wonderful friendship and stalwart support for the cause of Reason and state-church separation.

Helen Kagin will be cremated. Edwin Kagin asks that expressions of sympathy in the form of donations be used to send kids to Camp Quest. There will be further announcements, including details of a Memorial event.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Alex permalink
    February 18, 2010 3:10 pm

    What a wonderful woman. Her voice, and contributions, will certainly be missed.

  2. Knockgoats permalink
    February 20, 2010 6:34 pm


    I know you mean well here – but Helen Kagin has died. Not “passed on” – that’s a prissy, sentimental euphemism, even if you believe in life after death, which, obviously, she didn’t.

  3. February 20, 2010 8:24 pm


    It kills me when you say things like that. Can you just have a little respect? Jon put this up out of respect for the woman’s life and the great things she has done, so please get off your soapbox and share some peace with us to honor this womans life.

  4. Knockgoats permalink
    February 20, 2010 8:36 pm

    I think it would show more respect to honor her life by not being mealy-mouthed about her death, especially as she believed there was nowhere to “pass on” to.

  5. Knick Gaughts permalink
    February 20, 2010 9:57 pm

    Another pair of worthwhile posts from the real Nick Gotts. Everyone remember this day. For today is the day that the real Nick Gotts bestowed upon the world his opinion about someone he does not know using a common euphemism.

    Keep saving the world, Nick, one extremely meaningful post at a time.

  6. Johann permalink
    February 20, 2010 10:54 pm


    I think Jon is honoring her as well as he knows how – consistently with his view of the world if not with hers. Can you show some respect for that, even if you disagree, and save the harangue for a different occasion?

  7. thomas2026 permalink*
    February 21, 2010 12:09 am

    I merely used a common term for death in our culture and not making a religious statement. If you can’t deal with that, not really my problem.

  8. Knockgoats permalink
    February 21, 2010 5:36 am

    I didn’t think you were making a religious statement; and as I said, I accept that you meant well. I apologise for derailing the thread.

  9. thomas2026 permalink*
    February 21, 2010 5:02 pm

    Fair Enough.

  10. Nick Gotts permalink
    February 21, 2010 5:28 pm

    Thank you. In retrospect, I also accept that it was insensitive to raise the point I did at this point; I certainly intended no disrespect to Helen Kagin or her family and friends.

  11. Alex permalink
    February 23, 2010 10:57 pm

    Knockgoats: I’ll tell you what – when you kick the bucket, we’ll be better, and try to avoid adding the phrase “Thank God” to the title, as that would offend your delicate sensibilities.

    While I appreciate your attempted (and still combative) apology, you need to learn to put a filter on your thoughts. Your asshattery has been welcomed and even (mysteriously enough) respected since you arrived – but picking a fight over colloquialism in a post honoring a woman’s incredible societal contributions and memorializing her death?

    I’m starting to think that the sooner you leave, the better. I mean that both in the sense of this blog, and the internet in general. Leaving human society also might not be too much to ask.

    Grow up. Sincerely,

  12. February 28, 2010 6:47 pm

    When you fellows stop bickering amongst yourselves, perhaps you can return to a proper remembrance of Helen.

    Helen was one of the loveliest, kindest, gentlest, most generous people I’ve ever known. She was one of those rare individuals who was without guile or ill-will toward anyone, whose infectious smile could light up a room.

    For the record, Helen was an atheist, and did not believe in “passing on” as there is no place to pass on to. Please respect that.

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