Helen Komar

Helen Komar

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.


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8 Responses

  1. Helen was a beautiful woman in both the physical sense and the heart. It always saddens me that I never got to know them in the prim of their life, but many times if given the opportunity they can tell us such fascinating stories almost like ones we read in great novels. Helen’s life was amazing and her journey ended in peace. My thoughts are with her wonderful family, may your memories sustain you in the days to come. Gloria Centonze

  2. I grew up living next door to Helen and Greg. I can’t even recall how many times we gathered for a christmas holiday celebration or for her to sketch my portrait. She was a big part of my childhood. She came to my kindergarten class back in 1984 to speak about what she did for a living. I must say that everytime I pick up a colored pencil or take a cutting from the lilac tree that both of our families used to share I will always think of her.

  3. Helen was a warm, kind and loving friend. I miss her smile, her voice and our quiet times together. I am devastated to have lost such a dear and precious friend. I know all who knew and loved her are struggling with this incredible loss.

  4. Her character shines through that lovely smile of hers. What a well-written summary of her extraordinary life. I must check out some of those film credits – very cool she had a hand in those. As a fellow artist, I would love to see some of her drawings and paintings also, so if there is some kind of repository of those somewhere, hopefully you can share that sometime down the road. Treasure all the beautiful memories!

  5. My Aunt Helen shared a special place in my girlhood. Only 13 years my senior, she represented for me the choice of the artist’s life. Not that she had a choice; she was born an artist and used her gift as an artistic expression and a livelihood. It gave me permission to venture into the exciting world of entertainment and find my place there. Helen and Greg were effortlessly glamorous, talented, tall and graceful. One year, they Christmas-gifted me and my siblings with tickets to "South Pacific," my first exposure to the NY theater. I was officially in love.
    On that "wonderland" visit to New York where Helen and Greg met, I treasure a story she told me a few years ago. My mother Stella was Greg’s oldest sister. In my family’s dining room, there was a wide horizontal mirror opposite the table. She and Greg were seated across from it. I picture myself between them. She said that Greg used the mirror to make eye contact with her. I think we call that flirting. It worked. She was very conscience of him and as she reports, was thrilled when he called the next day and offered to "show her New York City." You know the rest of the story…..
    So many tanglible memories created by Helen: a tender portrait of my father Fred, a cartoon of my brother Henry, a painting of my other sibs June and Fred walking down a country road, the paintings of ballerinas that adorn my office. A beautiful life, artfully lived.

  6. I always told her she could be my adopted mom.
    A dedicated wife and mom. She loved her family so much.
    We shared many of her childhood memories.
    She will be truly missed. She is a angel watching over all of us.
    – Barbara Biermann

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