Helen Lian Duffy was born on March 10, 1924 in DuBois, Pennsylvania. She attended Olean High School. After graduating, she worked at the Finley Plumbing Company as a bookkeeper and at the Western Union Office in Buffalo, New York. In the 1940s, Helen and her two sisters enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve, also known as W.A.V.E.S., where she trained at Hunter College in New York. She also attended Georgia State College for Women in Milledgeville where she was a disbursement specialist. Helen and her sisters were assigned recruiting duty by the Navy and even featured on recruiting posters.
After leaving W.A.V.E.S., Helen attended the University of Southern Helen Lian Duffy photos MS.2019.09.028 - Page 4- California where she met Patrick Duffy. They got married in 1953. After college, Helen became a teacher and taught at Willow Brook Junior High in Compton, California and taught high school math at a school in Palmdale, California. In 1981, Helen went back to USC to earn her Masters in math. In 1987, Helen retired but continued tutor students in math and French. Helen died on February 21, 2018 in Lancaster, California and she is buried at Saint Bonaventure Cemetery.