Dorothy N. Helm, 57, head cook at the Parent and Child Center here, died Sept. 23 at Washington Hospital Center after an apparent heart attack.

Born in Saluda, Va., she lived for a number of years here and in the Philadephia and New York City areas before returning to the Washington area about 12 years ago. She worked until 1972 as a hotel maid.

Five years ago Mrs. Helm became head cook at teh Parent and Child Center at 2124 14th St. NW. Her duties included the preparation or supervision of about 300 meals a day. The center, a nonprofit day-care facility, provides hot breakfasts, lunches and snacks for about 150 children and parents a day. For a time, she was the only cook at the center, answering the demands of small children, a harried staff and teachers.

"She was a dedicated worker," and "she gave of herself," were the words of those who worked with her. Many remembered Mrs. Helm as a jovial, dedicated person, having a "positive effect" on all those around her because she was always willing to pictch in and help.

Mrs. Helm is survived by a son, Cappie, of Washington: five sisters, Thelma Lockley, of Philadephia. Evelyn Baylor, of Washington, and Elizabeth Ward, Bertha Taylor, and Mary Thompson, all of Saluda; four brothers, John H. Jordan and George W. Jordan, both of Saliuda, Thomas A. Jordan, of Bryn Mawr, Pa., and Herbert L. Jordan of Philadephia, and one grandchild.