Helene Harmon Martin was a noted archivist and stained glass iconographer for the prodigious Willet Hauser Architectural Glass in Chestnut Hill for half a century. She categorized, researched for historical accuracy, wrote about, and developed visual plans for tens of thousands of windows worldwide.
She died Nov. 13, three days shy of her 85th birthday.
She was the author of a historical novel, Colored Winds, about a 16th-century family of stained glass artisans in Southwark, England.
Mrs. Weis worked with Henry Willet on the largest commission in the history of modern stained glass - the design and construction of a 30,000-square-foot serpentine wall consisting of 5,400 faceted glass panels for the 1964 World's Fair of Science and Technology, a permanent exhibit where spaceships float against an expanse of blue.
After graduating from the private Holman High School in 1939, Mrs. Weis studied painting at the University of the Arts until 1943. That year, she married church organist Niles Martin "in spite of my mother's violent opposition," she later wrote in her diary.
She married second husband Henry Weis, a photographer, in 1970. "Helene introduced me to the world of stained glass," he said. "We traveled the world, and I photographed windows for her. She carefully studied history and the authenticity of scenes and details in glass. She had a special talent."
Mrs. Weis had been a contributing editor to Stained Glass Quarterly since 1983.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Helene Weis Memorial Education Fund of the Stained Glass Association of America, 10009 E. 62d St., Raytown, Mo. 64133.
I did not know this woman, but sounds like an interesting life, well lived. My condolences to her friends and family.