University guest house hostess dies


    A K-State hostess who opened her home to famous guests and friends of the university died Tuesday at the age of 105.

    Helen Lewis Brockman, a former New York fashion designer and retired K-State professor, was known as a hostess and professor with many fascinating stories to tell.

    According to an obituary written by long-time friend Ron Johnson, Brockman joined the K-State family in 1968 at the age of 66, teaching in the Department of Clothing and Textiles in the College of Human Ecology until 1974. She had spent most of her adult life prior to that in New York City, where she taught at the Fashion Institute of Technology and designed for the fashion house Rolland Freres.

    While she was a member of the K-State faculty, she negotiated with the KSU Foundation to co-purchase her home adjacent to campus for use as a university guest house. Visiting faculty and scholars said they felt at home in Brockman’s home with her warm hospitality. The Brockman House was open to visitors from 1974 to 2007.

    In 2000, when Brockman was 98 years old, the Kansas Department of Human Resources honored her as one of the state’s oldest workers.

    In keeping with her wishes, her body was bequeathed to the University of Kansas Medical School. Memorials may be given to the Thomas Lewis Student Cancer Research Fund at the Terry C. Johnson Center for Basic Cancer Research at K-State. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, Manhattan.