The father of a future Queens borough president, Cyril Sargent was born on April 7, 1898 in British Guyana. He arrived in New York City on April 6, 1919 via Rio de Janeiro, on the ship Christian Bors. He married Artemesor (Audrey) McKenzie in November 1928 in Manhattan and made a successful career as a house painter.
Their daughter Helen Marie arrived in the Bronx on Sept. 30, 1929. A sister, Joan, soon followed.
While still only 20 years old, Helen married Donald Edward Marshall, in February 1950. She graduated Queens College, and became a teacher. They purchased a beautiful home at 103-02 27 Ave. in East Elmhurst. In 1969 she made a serious career move by leaving teaching and became director of the Langston Hughes Library in Corona. She also entered Democratic politics, becoming a member of the state Assembly for eight years and the City Council for 10.
She was elected borough president of Queens in 2001, winning two more terms and serving through the end of 2013. Her husband died on Jan. 26, 2017, just shy of their 67th wedding anniversary. She followed him a few weeks later on March 4, 2017, passing away at her home in Palm Desert, Calif.