Born Helen W. Jones, in Tilden, IL, to Claude and Martha Jones, Helen was the oldest of 5 children. She is the last of the Jones children to pass away. She suffered a stroke in October, 2015 and was not the same woman afterward. She passed peacefully from natural causes in her apartment at Freedom Village in Lake Forest. We will forever be thankful we were allowed to have this wonderful person as our mother and an inspiration in our lives.
She was born Nov. 5, 1921, and passed away on April 2, 2016.
Helen was the daughter of a coal miner and grew up on Collinsville Street in Glen Carbon, IL. The depression made her formative years' difficult ones, but also formed in her the perseverance and undefeatable positive attitude she carried through her entire life. She would always say, when things looked bleakest, "get a good night's rest, it'll be better in the morning".
Helen attended Edwardsville High School and graduated with the Class 1939. Her future husband, Robert William Kreuiter, of Edwardsville, was also a member of that graduating class. Although they were only acquaintances then, they would later meet during World War II and fall in love.
With advent of war, Helen saw her chance to leave Glen Carbon and see the world. She joined the Army in 1943 and rose to the rank of Technician, Grade 3 by the end of the war. The majority of her Army service was in Paris, where she was assigned in 1944. During her Army service she earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. While in Paris, she became reacquainted with her future husband, Bob Kreuiter. During their courtship, they enjoyed all the wonderful sights and sounds Paris had to offer. Not only did they win the war, they fell in love and were later married.
Helen returned home to Glen Carbon first. Bob returned a few months later. Helen insisted Bob finish getting his degree from Washington University, St. Louis, before she would marry him. They were married in Edwardsville on April 23, 1946. They enjoyed 64 years of wedded bliss, which ended when Bob passed away in 2010.
In 1947 their first son, Terry, was born. In 1948, Bob's employer, the Fluor Corporation, transferred the family to the Los Angeles area. The second son, Jim, was born in 1950 and their third son, Bill, was born in 1955. The family moved to Garden Grove, CA in 1954 and lived there until Helen moved to Freedom Village in 2013.
Helen is survived by her three sons, 4 grandchildren and two great grandchildren- Jessica, Jena and Julia of Huntington Beach, Jason of Houston, Jason's daughters Cali and Riley.
Helen made many close friends over the years. She enjoyed playing cards with her friends.
There were weekly card parties at her home and at those of her friends. She was a very giving person who truly valued her many friendships.
Per Helen's wishes, there will be no ceremony or commemoration services. Helen's ashes will be spread where she grew up, in Glen Carbon, Il, by her three sons. May she rest in peace - she was one of the good ones.
Published in Edwardsville Intelligencer from Jul. 14 to Jul. 17, 2016.