Helen T. Singh (nee Tang)
Service: In consideration for the safety of family and friends, Servicves will be announced at a future time. SINGH – Helen T. (nee Tang)
April 2, 2020, due to recently diagnosed
cancer. Beloved wife of the late Dr.
Surjit Singh; loving mother of Buxees
Louis T. (Elizabeth Szczepanski), Carol
Margaret, Beatrice Singh-Arnone (Vincent
Arnone), Manjit Leo, Ranjit Buddy (Lauren
Schechter), Anne Marie MD. (Mark
Mandel), Christina (Jeffrey Huvar);
devoted grandmother of Jillian, Surjit,
Sarah, Joseph, Julia and Aviv Helen;
dearest sister of Victor Tang. A Mass of
Christian Burial will be celebrated at a
future date and time to be announced.
Online condolences may be shared at
www.TheDietrichFuneralHome.com. Sept. 7, 1939 – April 2, 2020
Helen Tang Singh’s life started in China, but as a diplomat’s daughter, she lived in Egypt, Chile, Korea and Taiwan as a child. Her education brought her to Iowa and Missouri, and work to Buffalo and finally Amherst, where she was a resident for more than 50 years.
Those experiences shaped her personality, her family said: "Moving from country to country, needing to learn new languages and make new friends, her experiences strengthened her determination, resilience and ability to reach out to others."
Helen Tang Singh died in her Amherst home on April 2 after a recent diagnosis of advanced cancer. She was 80.
Mrs. Singh taught chemistry at Calasanctius High School from 1979 to 1983, at Nichols School in the 1980s and at Medaille College in the 1990s. In 1993, she began work as a chemistry professor at Erie Community College, continuing until her death. She served as department chair for 10 years.
At ECC, her family said, "she was a mentor as well as a teacher, and took great pride in the achievements of her students."
"She really did care about being a good educator, and it didn’t matter at what level you came to her," because she had taught everyone from gifted students to adult learners, said her son Manjit Leo Singh.
A science award will be established in her name at ECC.
Born in Chungking, China, to Nationalist Chinese diplomat Tang Wu and Beatrice (Cheng) Tang, after the family’s travels, Mrs. Singh came to the United States in 1956 on a scholarship to attend Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa.
As an undergraduate, she published several papers in prominent journals, laying the groundwork for modern techniques in amino acid and protein separation "that any biochemist would recognize today," her family said.
She earned a master’s degree in physical chemistry from St. Louis University in 1963, one of the few minority women studying natural sciences, her family said. She was also a member of Sigma Xi, a science graduate student honor society whose members perform outstanding research and coursework.
On June 6, 1964, she married Surjit Singh in Davenport, Iowa. They moved to Buffalo in August 1967 after he took a job as a professor of chemistry at Buffalo State College. In the early 1970s, the family moved to Amherst.
A parishioner of St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church, Mrs. Singh was active in groups helping victims of abuse and in interfaith organizations.
In 1992, she served on a committee appointed by the Williamsville Central School Board to recommend a policy for dealing with religion as a subject and with religious issues in the schools. In 2007, she was recognized by the Network of Religious Communities with a Religious
Her family said Mrs. Singh "was a committed citizen of the community," working, often behind the scenes, with many organizations to foster social justice and improve the lives of people facing challenges. She and her husband worked to improve education, the environment, tolerance and good government, her family said.
"She always sought the best in the people around her, reaching out to all she encountered with a smile and encouragement," her family said, believing that "all were worthy of kindness, compassion, attention and support."
Her husband died on April 16, 2018, after nearly 54 years of marriage.
Mrs. Singh is survived by three sons, Buxees Louis T., Manjit Leo and Ranjit "Buddy"; four daughters, Carol Margaret, Beatrice Singh-Arnone, Anne Marie and Christina Singh; a brother, Victor Tang; and six grandchildren.
Plans for a funeral Mass and memorial will be made once the Covid-19 crisis has passed.