Helen Elizabeth Lapp Shortz

Helen Elizabeth Lapp Shortz 040319 onlineHelen was born on August 5, 1925 in Massena, NY to Louise and Bernard Dobbins. Helen passed away peacefully March 23, 2019 at Sunrise Senior Living in Sunnyvale, Calif.    She had a rather turbulent childhood - losing her mother at the age of eight - losing their farm to fire and living through the depression. Helen moved to Washington D.C. after high school and became a secretary - eventually working at the Chamber of Commerce and the Pentagon. Helen loved to paint and attended art school in the evenings. Later in life she received several awards for her 'Still Life oil paintings’. She also loved to read and write poetry.  Helen met her first husband John Louis Lapp in San Francisco when she moved out west.  'Johnny' as she liked to call him was working and going to school. He eventually taught Biology and was considered a Naturalist for his love of the out of doors and birdwatching.

They were raising three children together in Northern California when 'Johnny' was killed in an automobile accident. Helen moved with her three children to San Mateo, CA where she worked and, eventually, met her second husband, Guy Shortz. Guy had four children. They merged our families and raised all seven children together in Los Altos, CA. Helen was a wonderful, involved, and selfless mother who always put her family first. Helen also enjoyed golfing with a beloved girlfriend and volunteered at the El Camino Hospital Library and the Discovery Shop on Main Los Altos.  She was a member of the Federated Women's Club for many years where she helped organize successful fundraisers for different charities. She also always kept the prettiest garden in her neighborhood and was told she had a green thumb. Helen was surrounded and loved by her six adult children, their spouses, five grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Helen and Guy were married 56 years and Guy passed away June 2017. Her family and home were most important to her. She kept a beautiful home with boundless energy. She was a strong woman who taught her children to be self-sufficient.  She was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside and will forever be missed. A Celebration of Life will be held on April 20th, 2019

Obituary Policy

The Town Crier's obituary publishing rates are $3 per line with a minimum charge of $50.  Photos may be included at $40 per photo (in addition to the $50.00 minimum charge).

Deadline: Thursday at noon, for publication the following Wednesday (6 days later). If a holiday falls within that week, check with us about special publication deadlines. 

For more information and to submit obituaries, email

The Town Crier is not responsible for obituary content. Paid obituaries are provided by families or mortuaries. 

Schools »

Read More

Sports »

Read More

People »

Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

Browse and buy photos