Helen Gum Westlake and Donald G. Westlake
Helen Westlake (1927-2012) was an educator specializing in relationships and child development. She was born and raised on a farm near Elburn, Illinois and received her B.S. in education from Northern Illinois University in 1949. Her M.S. in home economics education was earned at Iowa State University in 1958. She taught home economics in high schools for 33 years-first in small schools in Illinois and Iowa, and later in large schools in the Chicago area. For 17 years beginning in 1990, she was a part-time instructor of sociology at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Helen was a pioneer in the development of home economics related occupations. Helen frequently lectured at state workshops and taught graduate courses on teaching methods at numerous universities. She served on advisory boards for educational filmstrips, publications, and television series. Helen was the author of three textbooks: Relationships: A Study in Human Behavior; Children- A Study in Individual Behavior; and Parenting and Children. With her husband she co-authored two others: Child Development and Parenting; and Relationships and Family Living. In 1994, Northern Illinois University honored Helen with the Distinguished Alumni Award for Outstanding Career Achievement. Helen and Don Westlake have been married since 1950. Their daughter, Dawn Westlake, a filmmaker, is married to Bruce Rheins. Helen passed away in 2012. Don Westlake grew up in Elburn, Illinois. In 1950, he graduated from Northern Illinois University where he was a member of the basketball team. Don has had a multifaceted career but has never strayed from his love for learning and teaching. After receiving his B.S. in education, he taught high school mathematics and physical education. Later he was an analytical chemist at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois and then the Army Chemical Center in Maryland. After his army service, he entered graduate school at Iowa State University where he received his Ph.D. in metallurgy in 1959. Don returned to Argonne National Laboratory and, for the next 25 years, conducted basic research in the Material Science Division. There he gained a reputation for his ability to communicate with colleagues and with laymen of all ages. He prepared and presented numerous demonstrations of scientific principles for both adults and children. He has published more than 120 papers on his research and has given lectures at various conferences, universities, and research establishments in the United States, Germany, England, Denmark, Greece, Israel, and Japan. Since 1984, Don has been researching and writing in the areas of human relationships, parenting, and child development. His letters to editors regarding these and other social issues are often published in Chicago area newspapers. In addition to the textbooks Don co-authored with his wife, he also wrote Elburn: 44 Miles to Chicago, which treats, in both prose and poetry, family and community experiences as they relate to the development of attitudes and character.