Mary Helen Nicklaus

Mary Helen Nicklaus

Mary Helen Nicklaus


Mary Helen Nicklaus, 88, of Hills, died peacefully on Oct. 7, 2023, at The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, Iowa City, with Father John Lamansky officiating. Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16, at Lensing Funeral and Cremation Service, Iowa City, where the rosary will be recited at 3:30 p.m. Lunch will be served in the church hall after the funeral Mass followed by a graveside service at 3 p.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery in Parkersburg, Iowa.

Mary, commonly known as Helen, was born May 29, 1935, in Webster, Iowa, to Forrest Wade and Mary Teresa (Shannon) Morrison. She was raised in a farmhouse near Sigourney, Iowa, without indoor plumbing, but her reminiscences always emphasized the joys of farm life, not the privations. She attended a one room schoolhouse before graduating from Sigourney High School and attending Iowa State Teachers College.

She married the love of her life, Gerard Nicklaus, on Aug. 18, 1955, in Sigourney. They lived in Wellsburg, Melbourne, Diagonal and Afton before settling in Lone Tree in 1976. The devoted couple celebrated 25 fun and loving years of marriage before Gerard died in 1981.

Helen retired in 1999 after working for 12 years in the University of Iowa’s design and construction department. Helen loved traveling to places like Italy, Alaska, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and her faith drew her to such pilgrimage sites as Lourdes and Medjugorge. She also enjoyed playing cards, quilting, cross stitching and volunteering in the community. She was part of a quilting group at the Iowa City Senior Center for many years.

As a lifelong Catholic, Helen had an unwavering faith in God. She was a longtime member of St. Mary’s in Lone Tree, then joined St. Wenceslaus when she moved to Iowa City in 2009. She moved to Atrium Village in Hills in 2022 and enjoyed the friends she made there.

She had a great sense of humor, even at the end of her life. Her children still remember her laughter at the practical jokes she played on them as kids.

Helen adored her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and her love never went unnoticed.

She is survived by three sons, David (Carol) Nicklaus of Webster Groves, Mo., Mark (Beverly) Nicklaus of Coralville, Iowa, and Dennis Nicklaus of Batavia, Ill.; three daughters, Joyce Nicklaus of Bridgeton, Mo., Donna Nicklaus of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Brenda (Rob) Swailes of Cedar Falls, Iowa; two brothers, Gerald (Phyllis) Morrison of Lake Wales, Fla., and James (Barbara) Morrison of Bradenton, Fla.; eight grandchildren, Brian (Leah) Nicklaus, Laura (Ken) Evans, Megan Nicklaus, Jennifer Nicklaus, Liana Nicklaus (Li Ma), Athena Nicklaus, Sarah Swailes and John Swailes; and eight great-grandsons, Colton, Hudson, Grayson, Jordan, Micah, Easton, Lincoln and Brecken.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents; husband; brothers, Merle and Lyman Morrison; sister, Lois Scurlock; son, Thomas Nicklaus; stillborn daughter, Mary Nicklaus; and daughter-in-law, Sheryl Nicklaus.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church or St. Joseph’s Indian School, Chamberlain, S.D.

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