John Sain Helmick was born on the original Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918, in Chanute, the son of Jane Sain and Milton Parks Helmick. His father was a prominent business man in the area and also served several terms in the State Legislature and was also the publisher of The Chanute Tribune. His mother was a teacher before her marriage.
John attended Chanute Junior College before he went to Northwestern to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. (John celebrated his 50th anniversary there at the same time his mother would have enjoyed her 90th reunion.) He obtained a Master’s degree from Wesleyan (CT) and a PhD from Stanford, both in psychology.
During World War II, he worked in the Aviation Psychology Group of the U. S. Army Air Corps in training/selection of bombardiers. The Group received major credit for moving academic psychology into real-world applications.
John taught at UCLA and the University of Hawaii before joining Educational Testing Service (ETS) where he spent the rest of his professional career, variously as a program director (of what is now the GMAT), director of the Western regional offices in Los Angeles and Berkeley, director of international operations, ETS vice president, and, at one time ETS vice president and vice president of the College Board.
He was a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Sciences, and a member of the American Educational Research Association, the National Council on Measurement in Education, and the International Council of Psychology, of which he served a term as president.
Harking back to his debating days, John was an excellent speaker. He was not a prodigious publisher but he had several articles in professional journals or books. He was editor (with Scarvia B. Anderson) of On Educational Testing (Jossey-Bass, 1983).
After they married, John and Scarvia lived in Atlanta. They vacationed in Hilton Head for a number of years before they moved to TidePointe, where they were two of the earliest residents.
John’s father, mother, sister, and first wife (Dorothy McKeown Helmick) died some years ago.
He is survived by his second wife, Scarvia Anderson Helmick; two sons, Mark Mckeown Helmick of Castle Rock, Colo., and Robert Parks Helmick of Fort Collins, Colo., and their wives; two nieces Elizabeth Jane and Barbara Brookhart of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and a nephew, Jack Brookhart of Hudson, Ohio, and his wife; a granddaughter, Allison Elizabeth Helmick of Denver, Colo.; a great niece and nephew and their families.
Interment services are being handled by The Island Funeral Home, Hilton Head. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice or The Community Foundation of the Low Country, Box 23019, Hilton Head Island, SC 29925.