Helen Huldah Knudsen, the daughter of Carl Francis and Lula Mae (Sheets) Johnson, was born on June 8, 1925, in Harlan, Iowa. She was raised in the Cuppy’s Grove area and graduated from Harlan High School in 1943. After attending Teacher’s Training in Carroll, Iowa, Helen taught country school at Jackson #4 and #9, and Monroe #1 and #4. On June 11, 1950, she married Lyle Harry Knudsen at Bethel Baptist Church in Harlan. After her marriage, Helen substituted for Special Education teachers in the Harlan Community School system.
Helen lived in the Cuppy’s Grove, Jacksonville, and Harlan areas her entire life. Since 1969, she and Lyle have lived on the farm where he was born.
Helen was an active member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Jacksonville, Iowa, serving in the women’s circle. She was also a member of the Tuesday Chatter Club, Happy Home Club, two Sewing Clubs, and the Shelby County Rural Teacher’s Association. She worked as an area Tupperware dealer for over 45 years. For many years, Helen baked and decorated cakes for all occasions. She was active with the Shelby County Fair and 4-H, receiving the Shelby County Hall of Fame Award in 1999. She loved spending time with her family and entertaining guests. Helen also enjoyed collecting antiques, playing cards, and raising flowers.
Helen H. Knudsen died on Friday, June 16, 2006, at her rural Harlan home, at the age of 81 years and 8 days.
Preceding Helen in death were her parents and three sisters, Mary Thomson, Lucille Pearson, and Martha Larimore. Survivors include her husband of 56 years, Lyle Knudsen of Harlan, Iowa; one son, Dan (Lorie) Knudsen of Harlan, Iowa; one daughter, Beth (Howard) Lebrecht of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; one sister, Dixie Larson of Harlan, Iowa; five grandchildren, Stefan Knudsen, Gregory Knudsen, Katrina Knudsen, Kyle Lebrecht, and Sara Lebrecht; and other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held on Wednesday, June 21, 2006, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Jacksonville, Iowa, with Pastor Ron Rasmussen officiating. Alice Pieper served as the organist and Bonnie Peters was the soloist. Casket bearers were Stefan Knudsen, Gregory Knudsen, Max Knudsen, Bob Larson, Kyle Lebrecht, and Ernest Peters. Burial was in the Jacksonville Cemetery in Jacksonville, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan was in charge of the arrangements.