Helen J. Stilgenbauer, 99, affectionately known as “Hodge”, died Tuesday, November 17 at Wesleyan Village under the care of New Life Hospice. Born in Elyria on May 18, 1921 to the late Robert and Anna (nee Thew) Taylor, Helen grew up in Elyria and graduated with the Elyria High School Class of 1939. She married Frederick on October 16, 1938. While her husband was off fighting in WWII, she did her war effort part by working at Bendix Plant in Elyria. After Frederick retired from US Steel Company as an industrial engineer, the couple moved to Florida and lived there for 16 years, after which they returned to Ohio to settle in Wellington.
She enjoyed being a member of the Oberlin Golf Club and the Y.R.Y.C.C. in Winter Haven. Helen was a former Amherst Congregational Church member and present member of the Wellington First Congregational United Church of Christ. Her hobbies were playing piano, golf, and needlepoint. She had a musical gift of “playing by ear”, and could play a song by just hearing it. Her theme song was “Pennies from Heaven”. In 2005, Helen and Fred retired to Wesleyan Village in Elyria, where she played piano for the Beacon House at the Village. She also enjoyed the companionship of her calico cat Suzie.
She was the first cousin twice removed of Captain Richard Thew, founder of the Thew Shovel Company, incorporated in 1899 in Lorain. She was the fourth cousin of Charles Gates Dawes, vice president of the United States from 1925-1929.
She served as Clerk-Treasurer of the Amherst Public Library Board of Trustees for many years, retiring in 1984. Helen was an active member of her community and strived to make the world a better place. She was a former Girl Scout leader for Amherst (Black River Council), the co-director of family church camp, Pilgrim Hill, and a former baseball coach for the Amherst Girls League. Helen served on the Amherst Hospital Board, was the Past B.P.W. president, Amherst, and was a 50-year member of the Pythian Sisters. Her highest office was the District Deputy Grand Chief.
Survivors include her children, Arlene (David) Lengyel, of Wellington, Richard (Cheryl) Stilgenbauer, of Phoenix, AZ, and Clifford (Maxine) Stilgenbauer, of North Olmsted; 7 grandchildren, Mark Brummer (Joyce) of Grafton, Elizabeth Dlugosz (Chuck) of Vermilion, Deborah Toth (Chris) of Bellevue, Catherine Kurtz (Jeff Jones) of Wellington and Vermilion, and Richard, Scott and Daniel Stilgenbauer of Arizona; 10 great grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren. Helen was preceded in death by her loving husband, Frederick, in 2007; daughter and son in law, Carol (Karl) Rummer, brother, Robert L. Taylor; sisters, Ruth Hunter and twin, Hazel Winchell; great grandson, Michael Brummer and great granddaughter, Rebecca Brummer.
Funeral home service and burial will be private at Norton-Eastman Funeral Home in Wellington. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Friendship Animal Protective League, 8303 Murray Ridge Road, Elyria, OH 44035.
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