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Mary Helen Smithson

Posted July 22, 2013 in Obituaries, Perry

April 10, 1921- July 16, 2013

Mary Helen Smithson

Mary Helen Smithson

92 of Cedar Rapids, IA and formerly of Perry, IA , died at the Hiawatha Care Center , Hiawatha, IA on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. A visitation will be held from 9:00AM Saturday, July 20, 2013 until service time at Murdock Funeral Home in Perry, IA.  Services will be be at 10:00AM Saturday with internment at Violet Hill Cemetery in Perry.

Mary Helen Smithson was born in Perry, IA on April 10, 1921 to Edith and Paul Schuhardt.   She married Leonard J. Smithson in Grant City, MO, in 1939. They had three children; Judith, Leland and Craig.

Mary Helen graduated from Washington Township High School.  Attending a one-room schoolhouse in her primary grades was one of her fondest memories of growing up in the country. After marriage, the young couple moved into Perry, IA, where she became a mother and homemaker.  Mary Helen loved to cook and bake which was a source of pleasure as well as the thread that connected her varied roles over her working career.  She became the head cook at the Perry Hospital and then owner/ operator of  Mary Helen’s Koffee Kup diner in Perry. In 1962 they moved to Sherburn, MN. While in the Sherburn/Fox Lake area, she became the lead cook at the Trimont Nursing Home as well as its’ activity director. Over the years, Mary Helen held a variety of leadership roles in the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts of America, the American Legion, the VFW Auxiliary, and her local Methodist Church. She sold Studio Girl Cosmetics for many years. Mary Helen was loved for her positive attitude, her hard work ethic, her kindness in all situations and her creative skills in planning meetings, social gatherings and activities for the children.

After retiring, Leonard and Mary Helen lived in Mesa, Arizona, for 28 years before moving to Keystone Cedars in Cedar Rapids.  Mary Helen made Keystone her home for 7 ½ years until a broken hip caused the move to the care center. While in AZ and in Cedar Rapids she continued to plan social events, made cards, pursued many craft skills, and made angels which she shared with all her friends. She developed her art of letter writing and stayed in contact with dozens of lifelong friends. She loved playing games, especially any card game and she eagerly learned computer skills that connected her to friends and especially her beloved, growing family.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her son, Craig Dennis, her husband of 67 years, Leonard, and numerous sisters and brothers in-law and a sister-in-law. She is survived by her brother, Leland Schuhardt of Perry, IA; her daughter, Judith Ann Smithson-Hilkin (Jim) of Burlington, IA; her son, Leland John (Peggy) Smithson of  Cedar Rapids, IA; and grandchildren; John (Ruby) Barnes, Des Moines, IA; Jill Barnes Myers, Elkhorn, WI; Kimberly (Rod) Petersen, Columbia MO; Carrie (Matt) Gray, Cedar Rapids, IA; Eight great grandchildren;  Jordan & Jenna Myers;  Morgan, Caroline and Elizabeth Petersen;  Alyssa, Lauren and Adam Gray; several loved nieces and nephews, other relatives and  many friends at Keystone Cedars. Those fortunate to meet Mary Helen became her friend for life.

Memorials may be made in Mary Helen’s name to Iowa Hospice, any veteran’s organization or to a memorial of your choice and may be left at Murdock Funeral Home.

Information provided by:
Murdock Funeral Home
1420 Warford Street
Perry, IA 50220

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