The Ottumwa Courier


November 15, 2013

Helen Stewart

OTTUMWA — Helen Marie Stewart, 90, of Ottumwa, died Nov. 15, 2013, at her home.

She was born April 15, 1923, in Kirkwood, Mo., to John Frank and Florence Louise Tiesler Wagner. She married Robert (Bob) Stewart on Aug. 4, 1942, in Kansas City, Mo.

She was raised in Kirkwood and graduated from Kirkwood High School and then business school. She worked for many years as a secretary for Reliable Life Insurance Company in St. Louis. Upon moving to Ottumwa when her husband came back from the war, she raised three girls, sewed dance costumes for Lois Ryan Watts and in the '60s went to work for the United States Census Bureau as an interviewer for 17 years, retiring in 1983.

Helen belonged to the Eastern Star, Rose Chapter of Amararth, American Legion Auxiliary, AARP, Ottumwa Saddle Club, YWCA and Ottumwa Women's Bowling League. She was a board member for the Railroad Credit Union and the Wapello County Historical Society. She was an active member of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Veterans Association, serving as local president for many terms. Helen was elected as secretary treasure for the Chicago region in 1989 and served as systems president in 1997 for many years.

Helen was active in 4-H, serving as a leader for 21 years and on the Extension Council and Horse Project Committee. Helen helped establish the Pony Express Riders in Wapello County for Camp Sunnyside.

Helen was a "giver;" there was not anyone she would not help nor has not helped.

She is survived by three daughters, Shirla (Bill) Hart of Ottumwa, Flo (Tony) Shedenhelm of Rancho Cordova, Calif., and Jo Stewart of Ottumwa; six grandchildren, Becki (Bob) Dible of Fostoria, Ohio, Brenda (Steve) Brereton of Wapello, Rob Tomlin of Ottumwa, Shawn (Jennifer) Shedenhelm and Josh (Rosa) Shedenhelm, both of Rancho Cordova, Calif., and Danielle (Doug) Gordon of Drakesville; eight great-grandchildren, Anna, Nichole, Alicen, Colt, Dylan, Delaniey, Robby, Mason, A.J. and Conner; and one great-great-granchild, Hayden.

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