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Janna Helmers

October 9, 2015
Reinbeck Courier

Janna Helmers, formerly of Reinbeck and Iowa Falls, Iowa, age 95, died August 29, 2015, at Grand JiVante in Ackley, Iowa under the care of Hospice of North Iowa.

Janna was born on March 12, 1920, in Rysum, Germany, daughter of Roelf and Hinderika Kirchhoff. Janna was baptized and confirmed in the Evangelical Reformed Church. She received her education at the parochial school in Rysum. Political and economic tensions during this time disrupted her childhood through young adult years. The loss of family, including her brother, Rolf, brother-in-law, Bernhard, and friends during the war gave her an early awareness of the hardships life can bring.

Janna met her future husband, Henry Helmers, after the war through letter writing with German Americans in Iowa who were sending family and friends in Germany care packages. The pen pal relationship she had with Henry developed into a marriage proposal. They were married in Ostrhauderfehn, Henry's hometown, on June 25, 1949. Following the wedding, Henry returned to Parkersburg, Iowa. Janna came later in 1950. Together they worked and saved to purchase a farm in Grundy County, Iowa, near Reinbeck still farmed today by her son, Roy.

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On June 24, 1964, Janna became a widow when Henry was killed in a farming accident. She made the difficult decision to stay in this country and continue the farming operation by herself. After retirement from farming, Janna helped take care of her grandsons.

Janna was proud of her family and wished only the best for them, both those here and those residing in Ostfriesland. She cherished her friends and enjoyed sharing "tea time" with them. She received great joy from raising flowers and making floral arrangements.

Janna is survived by her daughter, Nancy (Magnus) Stiner, her son, Roy (Diann) Helmers, three grandchildren, David, Daniel, and Derek; three step-grandchildren, Glynda, Jeremy, and Alexa; a great-granddaughter, Cora; two step-great grandchildren, Drew and Penelope; and many nieces and nephews in Germany.

She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Jan (Grietje), Freerk (Freerkje), Rolf, Hinrich (Antje), and Hannes (Ebeline) Kirchhoff and sister Grietje (Bernhard) Weerts, two nephews, Rolf-Bernhard Weerts and Heinrich Kirchhoff and one niece, Johanne Mentjes.

Funeral services were held at Bethany Lutheran Church in Iowa Falls on September 4, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Burial was at Oak Hill Cemetery in Parkersburg, Iowa. Woodley Funeral Home in Iowa Falls assisted the family with arrangements.



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