|Birth: ||Apr. 2, 1934|
|Death: ||May 30, 2006|
Helen Catherine (Neufeld) Coon was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Rev. John T. and Catherine R (Wiens) Neufeld.
She attended Shields Grade School, Kelly High School,and was active in the Grace Mennonite Church and the Hi-C Chorale as a teenager. Helen received a B.A. degree in English from Bluffton College (now University) in 1956. She participated in many music activities, worked on the school paper, and was the speaker in her Women's Gospel team while at Bluffton.
On June 24, 1956, Helen married Robert Russell "Bob" Coon (born in Dayton, Ohio, 1931), whom she had met at Bluffton. Immediately following their wedding in Chicago and a short honeymoon, they embarked on a summer tour of the Mennonite Seminary Sacred Song Ensemble, visiting many churches in Canada. The story was that they married because they needed the additional alto in the choir, and unmarried sweethearts were just not respectable! Robert became a Mennonite pastor in the General Conference. When she passed away, our father shared that "there will never be another woman for me." (Even though he had been engaged TWICE before meeting her!) They had a strong love for each other which endured many hardships and stresses, and she passed away 24 days shy of what would have been their 50th wedding anniversary.
Helen served along with Bob as minister's wife in congregations in: Chicago (First Mennonite); Moundridge, Kansas (First Mennonite); Quakertown, Pennsylvania (Bethany Mennonite); Flanagan Illinois; Oklahoma (Herold Mennonite in Bessie, Deer Creek Mennonite, and Turpin Mennonite), East Peoria and Pekin, Illinois and Travelers' Rest Resort, Dade City, Florida. Following Robert's retirement, they served a one-year term as volunteer hosts at the Menno-Hof Mennonite Visitors' Center in Shipshewana, Indiana. They retired in Topeka, Indiana. She and Robert joined Topeka Mennonite Church following his retirement. She sang in the choir,led Sunday School, and worked as a church secretary prior to her illness.
Helen and Bob co-authored and performed a skit with music and costumes titled "Faith of Our Mothers and Fathers", which portrayed Anabaptist church history through prose, poetry, and traditional songs. They performed this at various churches and other events.
She authored two books: "The House at The Back of the Lot", and "Oscar and Sarah: A Congo Love Story" (See FAG #112199787 and 112200224) as well as many published poems and essays for Christian publications. She worked as a teacher,bank teller, church secretary,and Sunday school curriculum coordinator for the Foundation series.
Helen's open, friendly smile, her compassion towards those less fortunate, her Christian witness in word and deed, and her sense of humor are dearly missed by all who knew and loved her. She ministered to young mothers in her apartment complex in Topeka, many whom were immigrants. She enjoyed playing games, making friends, and reading to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her life and values reflected her commitment to Christ and His way of peace with all people.
As a mother she used humor and honesty in raising her children. We argued a lot, but always made up and laughed about it later. We were usually allowed to speak our minds, if we did it respectfully. She reserved her most severe reprimands for times we called people names or gossiped about others, and had very little tolerance for the times she observed outright racism and bigotry. She wasn't afraid to confront people about being more safe. She tried to make our toys "nonviolent" - our plastic "cowboys and indians" wound up looking like they were waving at each other, since she cut off the guns and the bows and arrows!
Her older siblings were Esther (Neufeld) Kressly, Elvina (Neufeld) Martens, and Ernest Wiens Neufeld. Her younger sister is Edith (Neufeld) Michalovic. Esther preceded her in death, in 1998. Elvina died in 2012.
Her children are Russell "Russ" Raymond Coon (Kathy), Catherine "Cathy" Cora Coon Bitikofer (Merv), and Dorothy Deanna Coon. There are five grandchildren, and at the time of her death, there were 7 great-grandchildren.
She died at home on May 30, 2006 with family present,from complications related to liver disease.
John T. Neufeld (1895 - 1961)
Catherine R Wiens Neufeld (1899 - 1984)
Esther Wanita Neufeld Kressly (1923 - 1998)*
Elvina Neufeld Martens (1926 - 2012)*
Helen Catherine Neufeld Coon (1934 - 2006)
Maple Grove Cemetery
Created by: GeekyGraveGirl
Record added: May 31, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 111564175