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A close-up image of a memorial candle with a photo of Helen Burmeister printed on it.Helen Ann (Madera) Burmeister 1929-2019

Helen Ann Madera was born on October 14, 1929, in Traer, Iowa. She attended school in Traer and graduated from
Dinsdale High School in 1947. She attended business college and married Don Burmeister in 1948. Helen was a city girl who learned to be a farm wife raising chickens, milking cows, helping around the farm, and driving tractors in the fields with her husband Donnie. They lived on many farms during the twenty-five years that they farmed together.

Helen was a 4-H leader for ten years for the Eden Willing Workers 4-H Club. For ten years Helen also baked and
decorated cakes of every size, shape, and wedding. She also taught Sunday school for ten years at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church where she was an active 60-year member. When the family moved to Vinton, Helen spent twenty-five years working at the Virginia Gay Hospital. She began as a ward clerk and then worked in the business office. She developed many lasting friendships at VGH. George Garwood, director at the hospital during her working career complimented Helen by saying, “If you can’t get along with Helen, you can’t get along with anyone!”

For twenty-five years Helen did all the bookwork and payroll for the trucking business that she and her husband Don established. She was very proud of earning her CDL semi license from Kirkwood Community College to surprise her husband.

Helen and Don had open-door hospitality to anyone who stopped in for a visit. Helen was an avid baker. Continuing her Czech heritage, Helen became skilled in the art of making Kolochies, which she learned from her mother and Czech family members. The coffee was always on and Helen was known to have something freshly baked to go with it.

Helen was very proud that she and Donnie had traveled to all fifty states as well as abroad. They wintered in Arizona and Texas and spent summertime in Minnesota, where she enjoyed fishing.

Helen passed away a few days after celebrating her 90th birthday with her family.

Donna Kruckenberg