Helen is president of Porter Loring Mortuaries, Inc., a fourth-generation family business entrusted in the community to serve them at the hardest of times. She oversees day-to-day operations in all aspects of the business including supervising the bereavement counselor and the community coordinator.
Porter Loring Mortuaries was founded in 1918 and currently has two locations; near downtown and one off 1604, with over 100 employees. The funeral home operations include serving families at the time of death, advanced planning, bereavement services, and community training/education.
Helen has worked in the business since she was 16 years old, starting out as a housekeeper and then working in every position within the company. She graduated from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, in 2006 with a B.A. in psychology. While at Millsaps College, she served as president of the Gamma Zeta Chapter of Delta Delta Delta Sorority and was a three year letterman of the softball team.
After Millsaps, she came back to San Antonio and graduated from San Antonio College with her associate’s degree in mortuary science. Helen also acquired her funeral director's license and her embalmer's license through the State of Texas after completing the State provisional license requirements and passing the State Board Exams for each respective license.
Over the years, she has seen the funeral industry change and has been the frontrunner of grasping these changes within Porter Loring Mortuaries, such as implementing and training the staff on the virtual selection room, a reception room, and a funeral home dog.
Helen has been a member of the Junior League of San Antonio since 2009, serving as Board Secretary in 2014; a member of the Rotary Club of San Antonio since 2011, serving as a club director on the board in 2014-15 and 2015-16; member and board member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) of San Antonio since 2015; she organized a roundtable to discuss teen suicide within our community from which the Alamo Area Teen Suicide Prevention Coalition was created, and she currently serves as its honorary chair; and she is very active with Selected Independent Funeral Homes, a professional association.
Helen has been married to Jonathan Downs Dear since 2007, and mother to two children, ages nine and six.
2016 San Antonio Business Journal 40 under 40 Rising Star
2017 SIFH NextGen Professional of the Year Award
1) Why have you decided to serve as a Trailblazer for the JLSA?
With my involvement with the Alamo Area Teen Suicide Prevention Coalition, I have heard firsthand the importance of educating the community on mental health and wellness. Therefore, when I learned about the JLSA Centennial Campaign and its partnership with Clarity Child Guidance Center, I immediately wanted to assist in its fundraising efforts.
2) Who and/or what inspires you to pave a path in our community?
I have never been the type to just sit back and see what happens. I know it takes people to step up to make change. As a mother of two young children and a native San Antonian, I want to make sure my children (and the rest of the community) are raised in a community where they know their support systems reaches far beyond family.