Helene M. Reuter

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Helene M. Reuter, 94, of Lancaster and formerly of Bloomington, passed away early Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, at Atrium Acute Care Center, Lancaster. Helene slipped away quietly in the wee hours of the morning after seven days of hospice care. Her oldest daughter, Jo Ellen, had flown in and was by Helene’s side on her last day. 

Born Helene Margaret Baker on May 5, 1926, in rural Harpers Ferry, Iowa, she was welcomed into the world by her parents, Tom and Margaret (Fahy) Baker, and older sister Marie. Helene was a 1944 graduate of Marquette High School in Iowa. She then became a school teacher at rural Allamakee and Clayton County rural schools and in the Mar-Mac Community School District. Helene married Wisconsin resident Carl Reuter on June 30, 1956. In 1963, the couple moved to a farm near Bloomington. They farmed there until 1988, then retired to a new house in Bloomington across from St. Mary’s Catholic Church. After Carl passed away on July 12, 2014, Helene moved to Atrium Acute Care Center in September of 2014. 

For the bulk of her life, Helene was a devoted wife and mother, and for all her life, a devout Catholic who walked the talk. She spent endless hours visiting sick relatives and friends in nursing homes and hospitals, even attending funerals for people whose services she thought might be sparse on attendees. Her acts of charity and service were too numerous to count. She answered her responsibilities for all those roles—wife, mother and Catholic—before any to herself. Helene was a member of St. Mary’s Church, the American Council of Catholic Women, Catholic Daughters of Americas (Court St. Theresa 1106), St. Jane Frances Study Club and Bloomington Senior Citizens. She enjoyed people and was an avid letter writer to her family and shut-ins. She was also a fine cook—making three full meals a day, two with dessert—gardener, seamstress and euchre player. She loved traveling and went to Europe three times. Summer trips to visit relatives in Chicago were an annual highlight for Helene and her children. On one of the last Zoom conversations her children had with her, Helene—wheelchair-bound, staff helping with her most basic human functions, the pandemic lending her virtually visitor-less for the last year—said in a tone of amazement, “I was just thinking today, why do I have it so easy?” As one of her friends wisely surmised, she likely felt that way because, for most of her life, she had been the caretaker. In her final years, she was at last the one being cared for.

Helene is survived by her children, Jo Ellen, Ed (Lucy), Jane, and Nancy (Jon); and five grandchildren. 

A Mass of Christian Burial was Monday, Feb. 15, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bloomington with Fr. John Meinholz officiating. Burial was in the St. Mary’s Cemetery, Bloomington. The Martin Schwartz Funeral Home and Crematory, in Bloomington, was entrusted with her services. 

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