Helen Fern Church, 88, of Lakeside, Ariz., passed away at Solterra Senior Living on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, with family by her side following a brief illness. Helen was born June 3, 1926, in Woodston, Rooks County, Kan., to the late Carl John and Esther Faye (Simons) Liberty. She had a younger brother, Everett (Bud) Liberty.
The family moved around frequently during her childhood in search of work during the Great Depression with her father farming or pipelining. She was graduated from Lone Star School in Eastern Colorado. In 1940, she met Warren Malen Church, who was working for her uncle as a farmhand. Shortly after their engagement, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in the European Theater during World War II for 39 months. While Warren was serving in Europe, Helen taught school on an emergency teaching certificate. They were married soon after his return on Nov. 29, 1945. They moved to Nebraska to work on a farm after the wedding and, in 1948, Warren went to work for Conoco in Lance Creek, Wyo. He stayed with the company for the next 37 years, settling in Rangely in 1967. Following Warren’s retirement, they relocated to Farmington, N.M., in 1991 to be near their son, Mike, and his family.
Warren and Helen were married for 49 years at the time of his death in 1995. In 2001, following the death of her son, Mike, Helen relocated to Lakeside to be near her daughter, Carla, and son, Stan, who lived in St. Johns, Ariz., at the time. She lived alone until January of this year, when she moved to Solterra Senior Living in Lakeside.
Warren and Helen loved to visit family and help out in any way they could. They especially loved harvest time in Eastern Colorado, where Warren worked in the fields and Helen cooked for the crew. They also loved camping and could be found many weekends with the Boy Scouts camping while raising their sons.
As a young mother, and later, as grandmother, Helen loved playing with the kids. She especially enjoyed sledding and was always up for anything adventurous.
She loved gardening, canning and cooking. She always seemed to have extras in her home for meals—especially during hunting season. She crocheted, did beautiful needlework and was an avid Denver Broncos fan. During her last days, all of the staff at Solterra fondly remembered their conversations with her about her beloved Broncos.
She and Warren were always active in whatever church they attended and Helen always served the Lord with gladness. She loved to sing in the choir and was a member of the choir in every church as well.
She was known throughout the family for her strong will, her courage in the face of adversity and her determination. Nothing was ever too hard for her and she has been referred to by many as the strongest woman they have ever known. But she is also remembered for her wisdom, sense of humor, quick wit, the twinkle in her eyes, her smile, her love of her family, her kindness and generosity and her deep and abiding faith and love for her Savior.
Helen is survived by: her son, Stan (Donna) Church of Evans, Colo.; her daughter, Carla (Brian) Parrack of Lakeside, Ariz.; daughter-in-law Tanna Church of Farmington, N.M.; eight grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews and multitudes of dear friends. She was preceded in death by her mother, father, brother, beloved husband, Warren, and her dear son, Mike.
The funeral service was held Friday, Sept. 26, 2014, in Pinetop, Ariz.. For those who have memories to share or to sign our virtual guest book, please visit www.owenslivingstonmortuary.