Julie Dickson and Helene Guilfoy
Helene Guilfoy and Julie Dickson: Lavender letter leads to the links at Kings Creek
I had the pleasure of meeting Helene Guilfoy and Julie Dickson through routine HOA business when they began construction on their beautiful new home in Rehoboth Beach Yacht & Country Club. As part of the Board, I often get to welcome new residents to the neighborhood during the construction of their homes. But Helene and Julie were way ahead of me—their move was strictly lateral; from slightly east of Coastal Highway to slightly west of Coastal Highway.
When I ran into them again at a Christmas party, I got to know them even better and knew they were destined for my little corner of Letters from CAMP Rehoboth. These are two interesting women!
The perpetually smiling Helene—a fourth-generation Washingtonian—attended elementary school at St. Matthews Cathedral, high school at St. Cecilia’s, and earned her Registered Nurse degree at Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Baltimore. I can’t imagine the things Helene saw as she worked in various emergency rooms in the D.C. area, and that could be one of the reasons why she eventually drifted away from that traumatic venue into the not-quite-so-traumatic world of information technology.
Her new career in IT didn’t take her all that far from hospitals and doctors, however, as she found herself installing groundbreaking software for hospitals and physicians’ practices. Her clients included Dynamic Control Corp. in Florida (formerly IBAX Systems); and in Pennsylvania, the Guthrie Clinic, the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and Catholic Health Initiatives. She now provides similar services through her own company, Guilfoy Consulting, LLC.
Her work with health systems and HIPAA readiness and implementation was—and is—groundbreaking because the software allows patient health information to be shared by multiple offices and multiple hospitals. So a doctor you might see when you vacation in California can access the same medical records maintained by your family physician. Lives are saved when potential drug interactions and unnecessary procedures are avoided.
Julie Dickson was born in Lancaster County, PA. Her parents owned a 24-hour family restaurant—actually more of a diner—that featured Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine. Mom baked, dad cooked, and little Julie helped out wherever she could. She earned her BS degree at Lock Haven State University and her master’s in education at University of Delaware. Her first job was teaching high school health and physical education in Manheim, PA., progressing to a teaching and coaching position at the State University of New York. During some of that time, she was the co-owner and director of Derry Hills Camps and the Dutchland Field Hockey Camp. She put that experience to good use at Brown University in Rhode Island, coaching field hockey and lacrosse while serving as the athletic administrator.
Everything must change, however. At the tender age of 42, Julie was recruited by State Farm Insurance; ending up right back where she started in Manheim, PA. When she was asked to run for City Council in Lancaster, she and Helene ran a successful campaign that led to her serving 2 terms over eight years. She now functions as a trustee for Millersville University of Pennsylvania.
Julie has been honored as one of Pennsylvania’s 50 Best Women in Business, as a Distinguished Alumnus of the PA State Athletic Conference, and in 2007 was inducted into the Manheim Central High School Hall of Fame. State Farm bestowed their Crystal Excellence Award after she served 20 years in the State Farm Legion of Honor.
See? I told you they were interesting.
About 24 years ago, Julie received an invitation to attend what was described as “a gathering of single professional women.” Her first clue as to the nature of the group was that the invitation was printed in lavender—a local lesbian newsletter was called Lavender Letter.
A certain Helene Guilfoy was listed as the contact for the group, and Julie finally consented to meet them at Helene’s apartment. She so enjoyed the event that she agreed to host the next meeting. Of course, the meeting after that had to be planned, so Julie and Helene met over dinner. Apparently they didn’t finish their planning because they met again the next night. And the next night. And the night after that. Both eventually resigned from the organization because they were no longer “single women.”
While they lived in Harrisburg, PA, they loved to visit Rehoboth. One fateful day in 1993 they were at the women’s beach in North Shores when it began to rain. While they drove around to kill time, they ended up buying a house near Silver Lake. Helene spent most of her time here, and Julie finally retired in 2011. Both are now full-time Rehoboth residents.
They love playing golf at Kings Creek Country Club, and they spend many an evening socializing with their friends at the Clubhouse. Though Helene still does consulting for the medical field, both women see themselves as retired and are totally wrapped up in the completion of their new home. And Rehoboth Beach Yacht and Country Club Community will be the better for it.
Bob Yesbek is a Rehoboth Beach resident. Email Bob Yesbek