During her long career as a therapist, Helen (Kim) Gagnon worked for many social services agencies in Sonoma, Marin and Sacramento counties before eventually opening her own Marriage and Family Therapy practice in Petaluma and Novato. She specialized in attachment therapy for adopted and foster children and their families.
A Petaluma resident, Mrs. Gagnon died on June 24, 2013 after a year-long battle with cancer. She was 53.
Mrs. Gagnon was born in Marysville and grew up in Davis. She went to North Davis Elementary, Holmes Junior High and graduated from Davis Senior High School in 1977. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated with a bachelor's degree in community studies from the University of Santa Cruz. She got her master's degree from the University of San Francisco and became a licensed marriage and family therapist in 1992.
Mrs. Gagnon was one of the charter members of the Novato Mother's Club and helped launch the Novato Charter School.
She was married to Tom Graham of Petaluma, a former editor and writer for the San Francisco Chronicle who teaches journalism now at College of Marin and City College of San Francisco.
Her daughter, Nellie Graham, graduated from Novato Charter School and Casa Grande High School in Petaluma, where she swam varsity for four years.
"Kim was a caring spirit who devoted most of her time trying to help others," said her husband, Tom Graham. "She made a big difference in a lot of peoples' lives. She loved good food and had an adventurous spirit. As a young woman she traveled throughout Europe on her own for two years."
In addition to her husband and daughter, she is survived her step-children, James Graham of Stockton, Tim Graham of Petaluma and Jenny Graham of Reno; her father, Mel Gagnon of Davis; her mother, Carol Kearney of Vacaville; her siblings, Kati Mezger of Sacramento, Marcia Parker of Stockton, Dan Gagnon of Cordova, Alaska, Jeff Gagnon of Marysville, Wash., Andy Gagnon of Woodland, and Don Gagnon of Woodland.
Family and friends are invited to attend a celebration of her life on Saturday, July 20, at 1 p.m. at 730 Goodwin Ave. (corner of Goodwin. and Hatchery Road) in Penngrove, followed by a potluck picnic barbecue.
Mrs. Gagnon requested that donations be made to her daughter Nellie's college education fund. Checks may be made payable to CollegeAmerica, FBO Nellie R. Graham, and sent to Alders Financial Solutions, 1701 Novato Blvd., Suite 304, Novato 94947.
Donations may also be made to Hospice of Petaluma.