1927 – 2020
Helen Komar, 93, passed away peacefully on November 27, 2020 at the Seminole Pavilion of Freedom Square in Seminole, Florida. Helen, beloved wife, sister, mother, mother-in-law, and great-grandmother, was under Hospice care when she eventually succumbed to complications and impairments of age. Sadly, pandemic restrictions kept her isolated from loved ones and made her feel alone and abandoned in the final months of her life.
Helen was an accomplished artist who enjoyed illustrating, cartooning, and portraiture. She was a master of pastel, pencil, oil and acrylic mediums. Millions of people are unaware that they have seen her animated work on TV and in movies. Friends, family, and many others, treasure her personal paintings and portraits that hang on their walls.
Helen was born in Poland in 1927 to Michael and Polly Sobkow. When she was less than three years old they emigrated to Diamond City, a small farming town in Alberta, Canada. Her parents worked as farmhands and they were housed in a tar-paper shack. When Helen was ten and her younger sister, Mary, was five, her parents had saved enough money to move to the big city, Toronto. There, her father opened his first shoe repair store. A baby brother, Michael, came along five years later. Helen’s artistic talents were recognized early on during her school years. She had a thorough education in drawing, painting, lettering, sculpting, anatomy and classical music at the Danforth Tech High School in Toronto.
When she was seventeen, Helen met her future husband Gregory Komar, a professional violinist, on a whirlwind trip to New York City (she called it “a wonderland!”) to visit relatives. She was swept away by his charm and humor, and they married in July 1945. They were married in a Ukrainian church in Toronto (where only Ukrainian was spoken and her new husband didn’t understand a single word) and a modest reception was held at her father’s shoe store. Shortly after the wedding she moved to New York City and became an American citizen.
Helen’s nearly fifty-year career as a traditional animator and screen cartoonist in New York City saw her contribute to popular animated television cartoons, including Popeye the Sailor Man, Casper the Friendly Ghost, and the original Spider-Man. She worked on many animated television commercials for products such as Maypo Cereal, Trix, Cheerios, Sugar Crisp, Cocoa Puffs, Fruit Loops, Wheaties, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Uniroyal TigerPaw, and Chloraseptic Spray. Her screen credits for animated movies and shorts include: Sir Irving and Jeames (1956), The Incredible Mr. Limpett starring Don Knotts (1964), the adult feature film Fritz the Cat (1972), Maurice Sendak’s Really Rosie (1975) and Chicken Soup with Rice (1975), Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977), The Soldier’s Tale (1984), and Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters (1988).
In 1997 she and her husband Gregory relocated to Florida to be closer to their two adult children. They became part of the Mission Oaks Condominium community in Seminole, and she leaves behind many dear friends there.
Helen is survived by her son, Gregory Michael Komar, and his wife Gail; daughter, Catherine Komar Outlaw, and her husband Scott; sister, Mary Smith, and her husband Ian. She is predeceased by her husband, Gregory Walter Komar, and her brother, Michael Sobko.
There will be no in-person gathering to honor Helen’s life due to the ongoing pandemic conditions. It was Helen’s wish to be cremated.