Helen McKenna Wickre, 70, of Humboldt, passed away January 16, 2013 at the Humboldt County Memorial Hospital. Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, January 19, 2013 at the Zion Lutheran Church in Humboldt. Visitation is from 5-8 p.m. Friday at the Church. The Mason-Lindhart Funeral Home of Humboldt is in charge of arrangements.
Helen is survived by her daughters, Kelly (Bud) Nostrom of Humboldt, Kristi (Kevin) Sholly of Clear Lake, and Karla (Jeff) Reed of Gardner, KS; son, Robert (Jennifer) McKenna of Spokane, WA; step-sons, Jerrod (Kristi) Wickre of Des Moines, and Jeremy (Terri) Wickre of Humboldt; 14 grandchildren; and 5 great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sisters, Jan Harmon of Humboldt, Jeanine Kenworthy of Kerrville, TX, and Jackie Christensen of Maple Valley, WA. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husbands, Jerry McKenna and John Wickre; her brother, Harry Hayes; and an infant sister, Heddie Hayes.
Helen Irene Hayes, the daughter of Byron and Zoe (Spieker) Hayes, was born February 4, 1942 at Villisca, Iowa. As a young girl, she moved with her family to Humboldt where she graduated from Humboldt High School. In 1959, she married Jerry McKenna and the couple made their home in the Des Moines area. They then moved to Phoenix, Arizona before returning to Humboldt. Mr. McKenna passed away in 1989 and in November of 1990, she married John Wickre. Mr. Wickre passed away in 2010.
Helen began her working career at Lane’s Clothing before establishing several of her own business in Humboldt, which included her silk flower and Mary Kay consultant businesses. In 1980, Helen established Closets Yours and Mine in Humboldt, which she owned and operated until selling the business in 1997. During this time, she also served as a representative for Electrolux and taught water aerobics at the Humboldt Municipal Swimming Pool. In 1997, she and John established Video Concepts, selling the business in 2005. Finally, Helen established J&H Enterprises through which she distributed jewelry including her well-known angel pins.
Helen excelled in her family, professional, and volunteer life. Her extensive volunteer work included, the PTA; serving on the Music Boosters Board; founding member of the Do-Re-Mi’s singing group; Girl Scout and 4-H leader; Hospice Volunteer; Treasurer, Vice President, and President of the HCMH Auxiliary, President of the Worthwhile Club, founder of the Angel Fund at Zion Lutheran Church, and steering committee of the Humboldt Aquatic Center for which she organized a successful city wide garage sale. And in 2011, Helen was honored for her tireless work on behalf of the Humboldt County Memorial Hospital, as the recipient of the Iowa Hospital Association’s Shining Star Award.
Helen was an active member of the Zion Lutheran Church where she taught Sunday School and served as a Vacation Bible School Leader. She was an avid gardener and enjoyed crafts. She loved to sew and made many of her daughter’s outfits and bridesmaid dresses. She enjoyed traveling with John, visiting all of the lower 48 States and enjoyed her memberships in several card clubs especially Bunko.
Helen loved being with people, welcoming them into her home anytime. Helen never met a stranger. The warmth she exuded made all feel at home with her. Whether a person knew Helen for five minutes or five years, all who knew her loved her.
Helen saw what people needed and cared enough to give it to them. She was a devoted wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was a faithful friend and a nurturing mentor who took people of all ages under her wing.
Helen was most proud of raising an awesome family and loved spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.