Helen Stucky Hansen, age 98, died June 12, 2011, in Gretna, Neb. She was born Helen Kathleen Zuhars on Dec. 6, 1912, in Peabody.
Helen and her brother, Harold, and their parents, Alfred and Ruby Zuhars, lived in rural Marion County. After graduating from Peabody High School in 1932, Helen earned a teaching certificate from Kansas State Teachers College in 1935 and then began a 31-year teaching career. She taught elementary grades in Aulne, Lincolnville, Grandview, Moundridge, Newton, and Peabody.
While teaching in Moundridge, Helen met Jess Stucky, a Moundridge native. Jess pursued Helen, and they ended up eloping to Sedan on July 6, 1940. They kept their marriage secret so Helen would not lose her teaching job in Moundridge.
Shortly after their marriage, Helen and Jess moved to Newton. They welcomed their first child, Mary Lane, in 1942 and Jon Marshall in 1945. The family later moved to rural Marion County, and Helen taught in the Newton and then Peabody schools.
While teaching full time and raising a family, Helen earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Bethel College in 1960 and then a reading special certificate from Kansas State Teachers College. From that point on, Helen taught special reading classes to elementary students. She retired from Peabody-Burns schools in 1975.
In addition to being a much admired and loved teacher, Helen was active in the Peabody United Methodist Church. She taught Sunday school, and she and Jess sponsored the Methodist Youth Fellowship.
Helen also was active in the Peabody community. She hosted meetings of Book Club and Athena Club, and was part of the golf course crowd. She loved life in Peabody.
Jess died suddenly in 1988. In 1989, Helen and Carl Hansen, a Peabody native, married. In 1992 they moved to Emporia to be near Carl’s daughters, Carlene Bedner and Rita Thomas. Helen and Carl were members of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Emporia.
After Carl died in 2003, and after having lived in Kansas for 91 years, Helen moved to Raleigh, N.C., to live with her son, Jon, and daughter-in-law, Libby.
In 2007, she moved to Omaha to be with granddaughter Kim Davidson; her husband, Jeffrey; and two great-grandsons, Jack and Nicholas. In October of that year, Helen entered an assisted living center in Elkhorn, Neb., and later a skilled nursing facility in Gretna.
While Helen was a dedicated teacher, clearly the center of her life was her loving family. In addition to her two children, Mary, who died in 1986, and Jon, Helen had five grandchildren, Kim Davidson, Ann-Jennifer Hart, Britt Olson Hemmele, Scott Stucky, and Leigh Goroski, and nine great-grandchildren, Jack and Nicholas Davidson, Juliet and Zoe Tuggle, Ashley and Noah Goroski, Katherine and Miranda Stucky Carlton and Dylan Carlton Stucky. Additionally, Helen embraced six step-grandchildren and 11 step great-grandchildren.
Funeral services, conducted by the Rev. Mark Eichler of Faith Lutheran Church, Emporia, were Saturday at Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home, Emporia.
Burial was in Prairie Lawn Cemetery, Peabody.
A memorial has been established to the Peabody Township Library, 214 N. Walnut St, Peabody KS 66866.
Online condolences may be sent to http://www.robertsblue.com.
Last modified June 22, 2011