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1982 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Helen M. Gray*

Retired Executive Director
Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc.

"The only failures are people who stop trying."

Helen Gray was born in South Dakota and grew up in Iowa. Her father, the youngest of 10 children, put himself through college. Gray attended a junior college for two years near her home because she could not afford to go away. She received a degree from the University of Iowa. A retailing job in Milwaukee led to other retailing, merchandising, consumer education, and public relations jobs in New York and Chicago. She worked at Bonwit Teller, Formfit/Rogers, Simplicity Patterns, Burlington Industries, and CM Offray. At CM Offray, she was a vice president, before coming to the Horatio Alger Association. She was executive director of the Horatio Alger Association from 1975 to 1982. Of her experience with the members, Gray wrote that they "all have a special respect for each other because of their common struggle to succeed despite humble beginnings."

* Deceased