In Memoriam: Ralph John Helmsen

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our esteemed board member, Ralph John Helmsen, Ph.D., who passed away on May 7, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of dedication, leadership, and unwavering commitment to the International Eye Foundation.

ief-ralph_thumb.jpgDr. Helmsen (“Ralph”) joined the IEF Board of Directors in 2012, serving as the Chair from 2016 to 2019 and Secretary for several terms up to his passing. “Ralph played a pivotal role at IEF in guiding our mission and shaping our strategies. I always looked forward to talking with Ralph before and after meetings and appreciated his practical insights and sage advice. His contributions have been invaluable, and he will be remembered for his leadership, compassion, and the positive impact he had supporting IEF’s sight-saving programs,” said John M. Barrows, President and CEO.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and loved ones during this difficult time. We share in their grief and honor the memory of Dr. Helmsen, whose spirit and dedication will continue to inspire us. A memorial service is planned at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kensington, Maryland, on Saturday, June 15, 2024, at 11:00 am.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made directly to the International Eye Foundation by mail, phone at (240) 290-0263 extension 111, email to [email protected], or online at Please mention that your donation is in Memory of Ralph J. Helmsen, Ph.D.


If you would like to send a check, please send it to:
10801 Connecticut Avenue
Kensington, MD 20895