Helen P. Brown, 90, of Mason City, died Friday, December 17, 2010, at Good Shepherd Health Center. A memorial service celebrating her life will be held at 1:30 PM on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 100 1st Street N.E., Mason City with the Rev. Patti Aurand officiating. A gathering of family and friends will be held at Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N. Pennsylvania Avenue Tuesday, December 21, 2010 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM. Family inurnment services will take place in the Rockwell Cemetery, Rockwell at a later date. Memorials may be directed to the First Congregational United Church of Christ.
Helen was born on February 17, 1920 in Manly, Iowa, the fifth of six children of Albert and Angeline Stoecker. Early in her life, Helen and her family moved to Mason City. She attended Mason City public schools and she graduated from Mason City High School. Following graduation, Helen attended Mason City Junior College where she met the love of her life, Jim. She received her teaching certification and then taught elementary students at the Lime Creek School then located north of Mason City for the next two and a half years while Jim continued with his college education at the University of Iowa, first as an undergraduate and then as a student at the College of Law.
While in law school, Jim enlisted in the Army Air Corp and was assigned to pilot flight school. Jim and Helen were married at an air base near Santa Ana, California on January 30, 1943. Following several training transfers, Jim was deployed to England in June of 1944. Helen then returned to Mason City. Their first child, Jimmy, was born while Jim was reported as missing in action following the downing of his plane over Holland in July, 1944. The news of his survival was dampened by the further news of his internment as a POW in Germany and the later news of the death of Helens brother Fred, who was killed in action over Germany. Jim was liberated and reunited with his new family in 1945. They returned to Mason City where Jim established his law practice.
Helen was a talented and gifted vocalist. While in high school and junior college she participated in many vocal competitions, musicals and theatrical productions. Later in life she enjoyed singing in the church choir. She volunteered for the North Iowa Medical Center, the MacNider Art Museum, Harding Elementary School, the Mason City Family YMCA and the North Iowa Band Festival. She was an active member of the First Congregational Church and her PEO chapter. Later in life she returned to teaching as a substitute teacher for the Mason City Community School District.
She will be remembered by her family and friends as a woman who, despite having faced many hardships and challenges early in her life, maintained throughout her lifetime a positive outlook, a love for life and a deep faith in her beliefs and convictions. She was a devoted wife, loving mother and wonderful friend to all that had the pleasure of knowing her.
Helen is survived by her husband, Jim; daughter Suzanne Cannon of Apopka, Florida; son Marc and his wife Norma of Phoenix, Arizona; and son Scott and his wife Anne of Mason City; eight grandchildren Laura, Adam, Evan, Andy, Julie, Genny, Sam and Claire; and four great-grandchildren Kate, Matt, David and Elliot.
She was preceded in death by a son, Jimmy; her parents; her sister Alberta; and her brothers Al, Grover, Howard, and Fred.
First Congregational United Church of Christ
Rockwell Cemetery, Rockwell, Iowa
Gathering of family and friends from 4:00 to 6:00 PM Tuesday at Major Erickson Funeral Home
1:30 PM Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ