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Helen Katherine McGuireAugust 28, 1924 ~ October 5, 2019 (age 95)
McGuire, Helen Katherine, 95, was born August 28, 1924 in St. Leo, Kansas to Joseph and Mary (Kerschen) Meyer and passed away October 5, 2019 in Kingman, Kansas. She was preceded in death by husband, Mick; son, Patrick; brother Cyril Meyer; and sisters Evelyn Bebermeyer and Dorothy Czaplinski. Survivors include daughter, Terese Shumaker Johnson and sons Adam Shumaker; Blake (Jenni) Shumaker and children Isaac and Casey; and Cory Shumaker; Daughter-in-law Kathy McGuire and children Jennifer Armer (Sam), children Carleigh, Patrick and Joseph), Ryan McGuire and son Drew, and Andrea Cowden (Joe) and children Gunner and Harper; son Kelly McGuire (Marla Moore), daughters Michelle (Matt) Anderson and son Joseph; Meagan Mazzerese and son, Luca; Molly McGuire and children Elijah Harmon, Lily and Tyson Bechtold; and Sally (Kelly) Rotolo and children Nicholas (Michelle), children Bailie Garcia-Rotolo, Izzy Garcia-Rotolo, and Emmaleigh Rotolo; and Hannah Rotolo (Craig Vedder). Sisters, Marilyn Downing and Martha Ferguson also survive as well as numerous nieces and nephews and their families.
Helen was raised in a large, close-knit family and talked about many trips in the early days to Garden Plain to visit the Kerschen relatives and enjoying chicken dinners (after seeing the same chickens running around the barnyard).
Having attended school in Anthony, KS, Helen graduated from Anthony High School in 1942. She was not only the Drum Major of the Pirates’ Marching Band but also a twirler and awed the crowds by twirling with fire.
Upon graduation as Valedictorian of her class, and while her fiancé, Mick, was serving in the Marine Corp overseas, Helen began a career as a telephone operator in Wichita, KS. Many pictures show her and her girlfriends walking downtown Wichita, showing their 1940s style.
Following Mick’s return from Iwo Jima, they were married on February 14, 1946, in Anthony and, after a short time, left for Cincinnati, Ohio where Mick attended mortuary science school for two years. With new-found friends, they enjoyed Coney Island as a break from studying.
Helen and Mick returned to Anthony where he became a funeral director with Parson’s Funeral Home and Helen returned to her career as a telephone operator. But this time, her new mother-in-law was “Chief Operator” and her boss. There were many memories of new family life but especially of their playing Pitch with Helen’s parents and Mick and “Dad” were a team against the ladies. Heavy and loud competition continued for years.
Helen and Mick McGuire’s family began in Anthony on March 17, 1949 – yes, St. Patrick’s Day – with the birth of their first child, Terese Katherine. Two years later, Michael Patrick was welcomed (March 2, 1951). As many families have sadly experienced, their third child, Julie Ann, was stillborn. Soon to come bringing smiles was Kelly Joseph (Aug. 7, 1956). (Don’t worry, #4 comes later.)
Memories of family life in Anthony were special to Helen, especially the every Sunday family dinner after Mass at her parents’ home, and by then it was “Granny and Gaga,” siblings, spouses and numerous little children – and there were always sisters in maternity clothes at the same time.
The family of five moved to Kingman, KS when Mick accepted a position with Livingston Funeral Home in 1958, and Helen continued as a telephone operator driving between Anthony and Kingman for several years until child #4 was welcomed into the family, Sally Leann (Aug. 2, 1960). Life was on “E” Street in a two story beige color home (sorry, WHEAT per Helen) and life was good. Anyone coming to the McGuire home during the holidays would remember her hand-crafted amazing table clothes made of netting, velvet trim and extravagant poinsettias sparkling with sequins and beads, and the matching Christmas stockings for each child.
Helen returned to a career as manager of Banker’s Investment Company and then clinic manager for the local doctors’ offices (Burkett, Boyer and Farenholtz) for the next 25 years before retirement. The household changed as the first three graduated from high school and ventured out on their own. With many broken hearts, Mick passed much too soon at age 55 in January of 1978, leaving Helen and Sally, and then Helen with visiting children and grandchildren to continue life on “E” Street.
Her Catholic faith and family were of the utmost importance to her. As a talented musician she not only loved the Wichita Symphony and Music Theatre, she was organist at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for forty years and was an active member of their Altar Society. Her many contributions to the church were in time and talent as well as tithing. Her beloved church organ has the chimes dedicated to Mick.
Helen was also a member of Beta Sigma Phi sorority, and her personally hand-made holiday party dresses were amazing down to every style and detail. Multi-talented – always style’n!
Among her friends were her Bridge Club ladies. One of her favorite stories was coming home to say the tables were talking about people she wasn’t familiar with in Kingman so she had asked, who are they? With startled looks of shock they told her they were on the new TV show GENERAL HOSPITAL, of course. (Embarrassment and laughter followed.)
Visitation will be held Thursday, October 10, 2019, at Broadway Mortuary from 6 – 8 p.m. Rosary will be 10 a.m., Friday, October 11, with Mass to follow at 10:30 am, both at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Kingman, KS. Memorials to: St. Patrick's Catholic Church. Services by Broadway Mortuary in Wichita.
The family would like to thank all those who have shown love and great care for Helen in her last years - the doctors, nurses, neighbors and friends of Kingman and Wichita. Mom said recently, "I've had a good life."