Helen E. Blair

Helen E. Blair

Helen E. Blair


Helen E. Blair 89, of Marion, passed away at the Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha, surrounded by love with her daughter Judy and devoted granddaughter Tawnya at her side. Visitation: 10 to 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 29, at Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories. Funeral Service: 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 29, at Cedar Memorial Chapel of Memories. Interment:

 Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery.

Helen was born on Nov. 21, 1932, in Oxford Junction, Iowa, the daughter of Edward H. Sr. and Amy Ruth (Wilkins) Lietz. She grew up and attended school in Wyoming, Iowa. She was the oldest of three children. She was married to Donald Von Spreecken, and they later divorced. Six children were born to this union. Helen moved to Marion in 1958. She was united in marriage to Leon D. Blair in 1966. He preceded her in death in 1989. Helen was a homemaker and provided childcare from her home. For a short time, she worked at Dubs, serving food and drink to the many proud union workers, who gave her the nickname “Pee-Wee,” since she was a tiny spitfire and fiercely independent woman. During her time at Dubs, she met Leon and developed many friendships. She also appreciated hearing an edgy joke, and that continued over her lifetime.

Over the years, Helen was a devoted caregiver to her husband, mother and numerous family and friends. She always had an open door to anyone in need. The love of her life was her grandchildren. Helen loved them endlessly and helped each of them in a special, unique way. She was proud of being able to experience the fifth generation of her family as well. Anytime she had a visit from family, was her happiest time. Her hobbies included camping, fishing, gardening and canning. Helen also enjoyed shopping, eating out, going to horse races and casinos, discovering a great garage sale and watching birds and other wildlife. Helen and Tawnya shared many laughs exploring SnapChat filters that could remove “your wrinkles,” make cartoon characters of your face or change your voice. Her favorite games were 31 and 10,000. She taught each of her children and grandchildren to play and those game were a regular part of family time.

Survivors include three children, Carol (Chuck) Gray of Eveleth, Minn., Judith (the late Richard) Chapman of Marion and Nancy (Darrell) Busch of Rogers, Ark.; 12 grandchildren, Steve Gray, Terry Von Spreecken, Cindy Barber, Tawnya (Jeff) Salsbery, Tina (Mike) Muehlberg, Cory (Amy) Chapman, John Wilson, Karla (Andy) Highland, Nicole Alexander, Genelle (Kris) Sinclair, Ben Von Spreecken and Nick Von Spreecken; 35 great-grandchildren; 17 great-great-grandchildren; her sisters-in-law; several nieces and nephews; and close family friends, Greg Schminke and Randy Corum.

Helen looked forward to her daily phone calls with her daughter Carol. Her daughter Judy and her family lived in the same neighborhoods as Helen for over 50 years. It was nearly a daily routine for them to have coffee and conversation.

She was happy that Nancy had moved back to Marion a few years ago, and looked forward to her many visits and outings.

One of Helen’s favorite times of the year was Fourth of July, as it was a tradition to have David and his family come for vacation and enjoy hosting as many family members that could attend for a cookout.

Helen and Tawnya had a very special bond, throughout Tawnya’s life. Tawnya was a very devoted granddaughter whom Helen leaned on for support, encouragement, and companionship. Helen especially appreciated Tawnya’s help in navigating her changing health and particularly over the past 7 years as her memory began to change.

Preceding her in death were her parents; husband; children, Phillip, David and Cynthia Von Spreecken; and brothers, Edward Lietz Jr. and Ronald Lietz.

The family wishes to express their profound love and gratitude to the staff of Country House for the care and love that Helen was given. Country House was a place that Helen felt accepted, experienced many fun and creative engagement activities and formed new friendships. Most of all, she continued to feel valued and contributed by preparing vegetables for meals, completing household chores, in addition to being a friend and caretaker to others, something she did throughout her life.

Online condolences are welcome at www.cedarmemorial.com under obituaries.

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