Helen Marie Long

Helen Marie Long

Helen Marie Long

Helen Marie Long
November 13, 1916 – August 25, 2014
Oskaloosa, Iowa | Age 97

Helen M. Long, 97, of Oskaloosa went to meet her Lord and Savior, Monday afternoon, August 25, 2014, at the Northern Mahaska Nursing and Rehab Center in Oskaloosa. Helen Marie Long, was born, November 13, 1916, to John and Anna Martha (Jones) Burggraaf in Mahaska County, Iowa.

Helen grew up near Union Mills where she attended Swede Row School. Later the family moved south of Oskaloosa where Helen went to Given School. She was born when times were lean and the work was hard. By age five, she would walk behind the horse and plow. Helen’s mother became bedfast when Helen was still young, during this time she was in charge of the house, garden and the chickens.

School was always important to Helen and she knew she needed to pass an important test to graduate eighth grade. She passed with flying colors and attended Oskaloosa High School, first by riding with a fellow student and then by living with a family in town. She babysat for the family as payment for her room and board. After graduating with honors, she soon qualified to become a teacher in a country school.

Helen began her teaching career at Mauchunck School and taught for six years. It was Homer Long that ended her teaching career. After a five-month whirl-wind courtship, they were married February 28, 1941. The couple lived near Albia. They would later move to the farm they lived on for 40 years, just north of the “Yankee Robinson Corner” in rural New Sharon. Helen helped with the field work, milked the cows, and kept chickens for eggs and butchering. There was a huge garden with “mile-long” green beans and peas. There was a large backbreaking strawberry patch, but there were also chocolate chip cookies in the freezer. Along with all the chores, Helen was a beautiful seamstress, sewing clothes for herself and her daughters. She also enjoyed crafts and crocheted doilies and afghans.

It was on that farm that two daughters were born. Gloria Jean and Joyce Elaine were brought up listening to old-time country-western music played by Helen, Homer and the rest of the band. The group played square dances in the Oskaloosa and Pella area.

Beginning in about 1967, Helen worked for Wm. Penn College. She would work there for the next ten years, eventually becoming the head cook.

Eventually Helen and Homer moved to their home on Third Ave. East. Helen continued to tempt her family and friends with her wonderful meals and a freezer stocked with all kinds of goodies. Helen was given the gifts of hospitality, comforting, organizing and efficiency. She always had time and treats for coffee time with a visitor. Her family could always count on her to nurse them back to health, as well as, watch the grandchildren, help with the canning and cleaning and anything else that needed to be done.

In March of 2009, after two broken hips, Helen went to Northern Mahaska Rehab and Nursing Center. Helen was a member of Bethel Baptist Church and attended coffee time with the Senior Saints group.

Those left to cherish her memory include her husband of 73 years, Homer of Oskaloosa; her daughters: Gloria (& Roger) Bartlett of New Sharon and Joyce Thompson of Cumberland Furnace, TN; three grandchildren: Karen Van Maanen of Laurel, IA, Christopher (& Jennifer) Thompson of Prosper, TX and Blayne Barlett (& Casey Kool) of Lovilia, IA; seven great-grandchildren: Jessica Van Maanen, Zachary Van Maanen, Trisha Van Maanen, Keenen Thompson, Trenton Thompson, Hailey Hill, and Clayton Kool; and three great-great-grandchildren: Jordann Garber, Elsie Grutz and Kambria Van Maanen.

In addition to her parents, Helen was preceded in death by her brother, Harold Burggraaf.

Funeral Services for Helen will be held at 10:30 a.m., Thursday morning, August 28, 2014, at Garland-Van Arkel-Langkamp Funeral Chapel with Pastor Steve Cox of the Bethel Baptist Church officiating.
Burial will be in Forest Cemetery.
Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday. The family will be present from 9:30 a.m. to service time on Thursday.
Memorials may be made to the Northern Mahaska Nursing and Rehab Center activity fund.

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