Helmy Louwe Younker Memorial Endowment

In December 2022, the NWCF was given a very generous endowment of securities worth $170,000 by Mr. Richard Younker in memory of his late wife, Helmy Louwe Younker. Subsequently, in early December, 2023, Mr. Younker made a further donation of about $174,000  of marketable securities to bring his total contributions to establish the HLYME fund to close to $345,000.

This donation provides an income stream to support the Helmy Louwe Younker Memorial Endowment (HLYME), substantially enhancing our mandate to contribute to the development and sustenance of educational programs and activities for ceramics artists and the ceramic arts in Western Canada.  The Endowment will be used to provide post-secondary opportunities for students studying ceramics in BC colleges and universities, as well as other projects. For more, please see here.

The NWCF expresses their profound gratitude to Richard Younker for his trust and support, which is so vital to enhancing our educational mandate and ability to promote ceramics in British Columbia. It is with great sadness that we learned of his death in April, 2024.

About Helmy Louwe  and Richard Younker

Richard and Helmy Louwe Younker

Helmy Younker was a long-time student, collector, and supporter of handcraft and ceramics in this province and across Canada. Helmy grew up in the small interior town of Penticton and later moved to Vancouver to pursue her post-secondary education. She was a passionate collector of art, ceramics, and all forms of handmade craft items. Helmy was always on the lookout for particularly fine and striking quality craft items, and she appreciated the work of a variety of artisans. She developed a particular passion for collecting works by BC potters and ceramic artists, often focusing on functional pieces such as tea bowls and small vases. Some of her favourite ceramic artists included Jinny Whitehead, Wayne Ngan and Charmian Johnson. During her lifetime, Helmy gave many hours of volunteer service to various arts and craft organizations, including the Craft House, Circle Craft, the Potters Guild, the Vancouver Museum, and the Museum of Anthropology. These experiences gave her an opportunity to meet various artists and artisans and to become familiar with their work. She particularly enjoyed meeting ceramic artists and talking with them about their new work and new directions they were taking. As a scholar and avid reader, Helmy acquired and read many books on the creation and development of ceramics and other arts. At the end of her life, after being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, she noted that she and her husband had collected the work of over 71 different ceramic artists, the majority of whom had been or were members of the BC Potters Guild.

Richard Younker was born in Toronto but moved to Vancouver in 1969 to complete an MBA at the University of British Columbia. He worked as a chartered accountant and certified management consultant in the private sector before starting his own independent financial consulting practice in 1985. He met his wife Helmy in 1975 and the couple lived initially in South Granville near Granville Island where they developed a love of fine art. Over the years, the couple became increasingly passionate about ceramics, and, during their 43 years together, they travelled throughout BC’s interior, the southern Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island, and Hornby and Denman islands, collecting ceramics. Richard particularly enjoyed larger, more sculptural/decorative ceramic works, and, amongst the many works he collected, he particularly appreciated those of Tam Irving and Vincent Massey. After the death of his wife, Richard continued to collect ceramics and to support the NWCF and was a constant presence at the foundation’s fund-raising activities. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2024 and passed away in April, 2024.