We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Valley Funeral Home Appleton
Helen Bayer died on September 11th, 2022, just before reaching her 104th birthday on September 21st. She resided at Helen’s House Assisted Living in Little Chute, Wisconsin, while in the care of Compassus Hospice.
Helen was preceded in death by husband Kenneth Bayer, mother and father Henry and Isla (Stark) Broeker, brother and sister-in-law Donald (Helen) Broeker, sons-in-law Francis McKenzie and James Jabb, and grandson Andrew McKenzie.
She is survived by children Elizabeth Bayer McKenzie, Paul Bayer, James (Kathleen) Bayer, Susan Bayer and David (Trish) Bayer. Also survived by grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom she was so proud.
Helen Bayer was born to Henry and Isla (Stark) Broeker in Chugwater, Wyoming, in 1918. Her father was a carpenter and farmer. Her mother was a schoolteacher.
In the 1920s, Helen moved with her family to a farm in Willow Springs, Missouri. Her fondest memories as a young girl were racing on horseback through the surrounding foothills. She and her friends canvassed the town for the presidential election before she was old enough to vote. She played in sports and learned Irish folk dancing. As a teenager, she enjoyed schoolwork and was the salutatorian of her graduating class.
It was in Willow Springs that Helen turned her life over to Jesus and she lived her life with faith in the Lord ever since. She wanted to go to school to be a missionary, but instead moved with her family to New London, Wisconsin.
Helen graduated from business school in Appleton and shared a room with other young women office workers in the downtown area. They formed the “Bachelorette Club,” meeting weekly for lunch near the businesses they worked. The lively group roller skated down the streets at night and took picnic lunches to High Cliff State Park. She was actively involved in church activities.
It was through these social outings she became acquainted with Ken Bayer. Their first date was to her favorite movie “How Green is my Valley”. They were married on June 24, 1944, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Appleton.
The couple lived with Ken’s parents and during that time he built a 4-bedroom house in the Town of Menasha (now Fox Crossing). In addition to their children, they cared for both sets of parents at various times. After their fifth child was born, they had up to nine people living in the house at one time.
Helen oversaw not just the household, childrearing, and elder care, but also the gardening. She loved the small orchard on their property and growing vegetables and flowers in two large gardens. The rewards of her productive crops meant busy summers picking, harvesting, and preserving for the winter.
Helen spent hours sewing, doing laundry, baking, cooking, and caregiving for family, friends, and the church. She regularly donated items to church bazaars, shut-ins, and charities.
After Ken retired, they traveled around North America on bus tours. Helen fondly remembered those trips and would comment when any of the family went to one of the places she visited.
One of her most endearing traits was the way Helen accepted everyone into the family. To her, words like “in-law” didn’t exist. Everyone she met was warmly loved, welcomed, and showered with prayers.
Helen’s fondest memories were of family gatherings for picnics and special occasions at the home on Carleton Avenue. Her strongest inspiration was trying to comprehend God’s love for us.
Helen followed Jesus’ path by evangelizing and praying with the love of God. She was anxious to meet Jesus in heaven.
What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
There'll be no sorrow there,
No more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain,
No more parting over there;
And forever I will be,
With the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
Family and friends may gather on Monday, September 19, 2022 beginning at 9:00am until service time at 11:00am at Valley Funeral Home, 2211 N Richmond St., Appleton. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Compassus Hospice in Neenah, Wisconsin. Compassuslivingfoundation.org
Joy is found in the Lord, not in things, Joy is found in knowing that he always accompanies, sustains, helps, protects, and upholds me. How can I not rejoice? God loves me so much that he emptied heaven of his greatest treasure so that I could join him in glory. Joy is mine because of his grace.
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