It is easy to understand the flood of tributes from the world of television, the arts and the general public following the death of Helen Madden at the weekend. She was the children's television presenter who endeared herself to a generation, an international prize-winning writer and an actress of critical acclaim.
The public eye was first opened 50 years ago when at the age of just 25 she became Miss Helen of Ulster Television's Romper Room, a programme for the very young which became something of a cult. Ulster folk of a certain age still remember the closing of each show when Miss Helen looked through her magic mirror to say goodbye to some of her young viewers by name.
Helen never tired of reminiscing about the programme. Her favourite story was at the height of the Troubles when one wee boy in the studio said he would like to sing a song called "The Men Behind The Wire". Her response: "I'm not sure we all know that one - what about 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' instead."
Listeners to the new BBC Radio Ulster in the mid Seventies enjoyed the same empathy she had shown with children to coax traditional stories and ballads from local bands and singers for the weekly "Up Country" programme.
It was a time of high community tension when people were often nervous about talking to the media on any subject. Covering the cultural range from Fleadh Cheoil in Carrickmore to Lambeg drumming in Loughgall, it revealed the side of life that the Troubles threatened to destroy but thankfully failed.
There was serious distinction outside broadcasting, not least writing and acting. Ten years ago at the age of 65 Helen's sharp mind was studying for an MA in creative writing at Queen's University.
She entered a new international non-fiction writers' competition created by the American Pulitzer Prize winner Norman Mailer "as a joke". It was no joke when she won first prize.
Helen's versatility saw her enrich both stage and film as an actress. First came the key part of Vera in Belfast playwright Marie Jones' successful hit comedy "Women On The Verge Of HRT"; then the very different part of Bobby Sands' mother in "Hunger", Steve McQueen's powerful film about the 1981 hunger strike.
However, it was far removed from the world of the arts that Helen was to find her most satisfying activities.
She was to study psychology in London and counselled victims of sexual abuse by priests in England and Ireland.
And finally there was Helen's humanism, her open mind embracing the concept of bringing non-religious people together to develop their own views.
In her later years as an independent celebrant Helen presided over humanist funerals, weddings and baby namings all over Europe as well as a significant number from both sides of this community.
Helen had been brought up in a Presbyterian family in north Belfast and as a teenager joined the Church of Ireland.
She was to sing in the choir at St Anne's Cathedral and it was there she married Brian Walker, the former political editor of BBC NI, commissioning editor of current affairs for BBC Radio in London and London editor of the Belfast Telegraph.
Helen is also survived by son Simon who has built sets for Game of Thrones and daughter Rebecca who is content director of the KISS radio network.
Robin Walsh is former Controller of BBC NI