Helen Elizabeth Stead was born July 19, 1918, in Winona. After graduation from Winona Senior High School, she went to work at Peerless Chain Company in Winona as an office worker. Her office was across the street from where Donald worked and once they met that was the beginning of a love that lasted over 73 years. Don and Helen were married May 4, 1940, at the home of her parents. Several years later, they moved to the Stead family farm near Burr Oak, Iowa.
Farm life was a big change for Helen who had grown up in the city, but she adjusted to life on the farm. She gardened, raised chickens, prepared dinners for work crews and even on occasion drove the tractor.
Helen was known for her great cooking and was always willing to share a recipe. She canned or froze garden produce and her gigantic freezer was always full of homemade goodies.
Helen loved her family and was proud of them. She also loved music, knitting, quilting, crossword puzzles, strawberry shortcake, Scandinavian baking, and making her famous homemade donuts. Helen was a member of the Canton Scotland Presbyterian Church, where she served as an officer of their women's group and spent many hours there with a group of friends making quilts. She had a beautiful voice and loved singing in the choir and also duets. In recent weeks she enjoyed and found comfort in listening and singing along with old favorite hymns on CDs.
Helen entered eternal rest on April 15, 2020, at Green Lea Manor in Mabel, at the age of 101 3/4.
Helen is survived by three daughters, Barbara (John) Peck of Moose Lake, Donna Zimmer of Boca Raton, Fla., and Carol (Gary) McCabe of Decorah, Iowa; eight grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; 26 great-great-grandchildren; a sister, Betty Pataska of La Crosse, Wis.; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband and best friend, Donald Stead; her parents, Harold and Ida Stokke (Berg); an infant sibling; a brother, Arthur Stokke; a sister, Lois Burns; and a great-granddaughter, Rikki McCabe.
Inurnment was held Sunday, May 17 in the Burr Oak Cemetery. Arrangements were entrusted to the Mengis Funeral Home in Mabel.
Mengis Funeral Home, 301 N. Maple St., Mabel, MN 55954; 507-493-5129.