The Ottumwa Courier


January 26, 2013

Helen Thorne, 71, Washington

WASHINGTON — Helen Louise Thorne, 71, of Washington, died Jan. 20, 2013, in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii, following a two-year battle with cancer.

Helen was born July 1, 1941, in Chicago, Ill., the daughter of William and Mary (Wheeler) Gilbert. Helen was united in marriage to John Thorne on June 27, 1970, in Ottumwa.  

She graduated from Chariton High School and later went on to attend Simpson College, the University of Iowa and Northwest Missouri State University.  

Helen has been a resident of Washington since 1970. She was a photographer for the Washington Evening Journal and the Fairfield Ledger. She later taught swimming lessons and Joint Effort classes at the YMCA, and she was also employed as the Technical Theater Director for Washington High School.

Helen was a member of the United Presbyterian Church, where she was active as a deacon and session leader. She enjoyed doing artwork for the church, was a longtime member of the church choir and served on the preschool board. Helen was active in the Washington Community Theater, where she served on the board and assisted with productions as a costumer. She also served on the Washington Concert Association Board. She was a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood Chapter J and was a charter member of Chapter O.C. Helen volunteered at the Washington Junior High School in their sewing and community writers classes. Helen was a Campfire Leader for several years. Despite her many activities, Helen’s main focus was caring for her family. She enjoyed trips to Hawaii and the time she spent with her husband, daughters and grandchildren.

Helen is survived by her husband, John Thorne of Washington; daughters, Mary (Michael) Mendelin of Bettendorf and Sandra (Kevin) Abbott of Urbandale; five grandchildren, John and Leah Mendelin of Bettendorf and Elizabeth, Audrey and Olivia Abbott of Urbandale; brothers, Richard (Julie Gammack) Gilbert of Gulfport, Fla., Jerry (Cherie) Gilbert of Bloomfield and Fred (Carol) Gilbert of Ottumwa.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and an infant sister, Carolyn Gilbert.

Celebration of life services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at the United Presbyterian Church in Washington; with Rev. Bob Wollenberg officiating.  

Visitation will begin at noon Monday at the Jones and Eden Funeral Home, where the family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m.

Memorials have been established for Hospice, the Washington Community Theater, the Washington Community Y or to United Presbyterian Church youth programs.  

Online condolences may be sent to Helen’s family at

Text Only
  • Wallace Davolt CENTERVILLE — Wallace “Junior” Davolt, 88, of Centerville, died April 16, 2014, at the Centerville Nursing and Rehab Center. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Lange Funeral Home and Crematory in Centerville; Pastor Gerald Campbell of

    April 17, 2014

  • Ernest Wissler FREMONT — Ernest E. Wissler Jr., 77, of Fremont, passed away April 16, 2014, at the Northern Mahaska Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Oskaloosa. Ernest was born Jan. 10, 1937, in Des Moines, the son of Ernest and Frances Crawford Wissler Sr. He

    April 17, 2014

  • Mary Collins FAIRFIELD — Mary J. Collins, 89, of Fairfield, died April 16, 2014, at home. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 23 at the Raymond Funeral Home in Fairfield; Father Nick Adam officiating. Interment will be at the Rock Island Nat

    April 17, 2014

  • 0418 OTT obit Delbert Fleig photo -T -L -M Delbert Fleig RICHLAND — Delbert Ross Fleig, 83, of Mt. Pleasant, formerly of Richland, went home to meet Jesus on April 16, 2014, at Henry County Health Center. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Olson-Powell Memorial Chapel. Cremation will

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT obit Ruth Smith photo -T -L -M Ruth Smith BLOOMFIELD — Ruth Ailene Smith, 85, of rural Bloomfield, passed away April 14, 2014, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. She was born May 28, 1928, in Moulton to Ward and Etha Hurd Daniels. She graduated from Moulton High S

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT obit Billie Wright photo -T -L -M Billie Wright BLOOMFIELD — Billie L. Wright, 88, of Cedar Rapids, formerly of Bloomfield, died April 14, 2014, at Colonial Manor in Amana. She was born on May 26, 1925, to Frank and Lucia Zabilka Douglas in Oskaloosa. She graduated from Oskaloosa High School in Ma

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Margaret Preston ALBIA — Margaret Preston, 66, of St Joseph, Mo., formerly of Albia, died April 16, 2014, at Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Tharp Funeral Home in Albia; Father Michael E. Volk

    April 16, 2014

  • Clifford Tippitt BLOOMFIELD — Clifford Gerald Tippitt, 60, of Cantril, died April 15, 2014, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Bloomfield Mennonite Church; Minister Daryl Toews officiat

    April 16, 2014

  • Kim Kiefer NEW SHARON — Kim Kiefer, 51, of New Sharon, died on April 12, 2014. Funeral services will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Bates Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa; Rev. Case Van Kempen officiating. As was Kim’s wish, her body will be cremated following

    April 15, 2014

  • 0416 OTT obit James Rysdam photo -T -L -M James Rysdam DRAKESVILLE — James Byron Rysdam, 81, of Drakesville, died April 14, 2014, at the Hospice House in Ottumwa with family at his bedside. He was born March 6, 1933, near Floris to Frank A. and Edith Fetrow Rysdam. He married his high school sweetheart,

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

AP National