Helen Widmer, 98, died at home on Oct. 4, 2015.
Helen was born July 8, 1917, at Garden City, Mo., to Ervia and Fannie (Neuenschwander) Yoder.
She grew up in southeastern Colorado during the Dust Bowl and graduated from the Mennonite School of Nursing at La Junta in 1939. She worked as a nurse in Colorado, California, and Iowa.
She married James Glen Widmer on June 6, 1943, at Wayland. Throughout their 68 years together they strived to live lives of love and service to family, community, church, and God.
Upon moving to Wayland in 1946, Helen devoted herself to raising their family and supporting Glen in his medical practice and their many volunteer endeavors. She was an active member of Sugar Creek Mennonite Church and the Gideons International Auxiliary. She helped found Parkview Home and its auxiliary, Way-Mar Apartments, and Wayland Mobile Meals. She was the first canvasser for the CROP Hunger Walk in the Wayland area, and for many years she priced the jewelry as a volunteer for the Crowded Closet resale shop (to benefit Mennonite Central Committee).
She was a skilled seamstress, enjoyed knitting and crocheting, and spent hours canning and freezing Glen’s garden produce. She and Glen traveled throughout the world to see new places as well as to help those in need.
Challenges and adversity in her youth taught Helen the traits of independence and strength she passed on to her children. Her special blend of mischievous humor and concern for those less fortunate is her enduring legacy.
She is survived by six children: Gwen Widmer and husband Patrick Clancy, Kansas City, Mo.; Theodore Widmer and wife Linda Widmer, Mt. Pleasant; Jane Widmer Yoder and husband Frank Yoder, Kalona; Jean Clark and husband Dan Clark, Muscatine; James Widmer and wife Alice Widmer, Mt. Pleasant; and Janice Hadley, Wayland. She is also survived by 13 grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; and a former exchange student and family member Madjid Nader and wife Shirin and two sons.
She was preceded in death by her husband Glen; her parents; her brother Timothy; her sister Ruby; an infant son and infant twin grandsons.
A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10, at Sugar Creek Mennonite Church, Wayland. The family will receive friends 3:30-7:00 p.m. Friday at the church fellowship hall. Helen requested no flowers. Those wishing to honor Helen’s life may contribute to Parkview Home (102 N. Jackson St., Wayland, IA 52654); Mennonite Central Committee — Sewing and Tailoring Vocational Training (MCC U.S., P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA 17501); or Gideons International (P.O. Box 303, Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641).