Helen E. Padden

Graveside services will be held for Helen E. Padden on Friday, January 29, 2021 at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence. A Memorial Gathering will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, July 3, 2021 at 488 North 1700 Road Lawrence, KS 66049. RSVP to Warren-McElwain Mortuary 785-843-1120. Helen Edith Padden, at the age of 95, died Saturday, January 23, 2021 at her daughter’s home in Texas. She was surrounded by her family.

She was born September 14, 1925 in rural Frankfort, Kansas, and was the daughter of Morgan I. and Gertrude M. Wanklyn. She was raised in Frankfort and was a graduate of Frankfort High School. Helen received her teachers’ certificate at Kansas State University and taught school until she met her husband Fred L. Padden of Frankfort, Kansas. They were married in 1945.

As a teenager, Helen was a dental assistant for her “favorite” uncle, Dr. George Wanklyn. She was a member of 4-H where she learned to sew, starting with clothes for her younger sister and curtains for her mother. Being a seamstress, she was far from ordinary. Her exquisite clothing included full fashioned tailored coats gowns, draperies, intricate embroidered children’s dresses, cowboy shirts and wedding apparel.

During an alter call in High School, Helen accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior. He was the light that guided her always, and was readily seen in all aspects of her life.

In 1950, Helen and Fred moved to Holton, Kansas where they owned Padden Funeral Home, Padden Furniture Store and Federated Dry Goods. She was a housewife but worked beside her husband in all three businesses, serving many roles such as accountant, make-up artist and hairdresser, furniture buyer, store manager and clerk.

In the Holton community, she was a member of the First United Methodist Church, serving in the Ladies Church Circle. Helen was present at all the church events, in the kitchen cooking and serving. She prepared food for funerals, holidays, and celebrations. Always a loving mother, wife, and neighbor, she prepared baked goods, made “ruffles” for Valentines Boxes and created beautiful May Baskets. Everything she did was for her family, friends and church community.

Helen joined PEO in Holton and was a fifty-year member, serving as an officer twice in every capacity.
She belonged to various social clubs such as Bridge and Supper club. She was an avid fan of KU Basketball and attended games for many years. Her joy of living could be seen in her many loves; painting, gardening, the mountains and most importantly her love of people.

Winfield, Kansas became home to Helen and Fred in 1973. They purchased Morris Funeral Home and operated it until 1986. Helen continued serving the Winfield Community Church and her family with the same passion she exhibited in Holton. Helen was active in the Methodist Church, Job’s Daughters, PEO, Meals on Wheels, Hypatia Club, Ladies Bridge and couple’s Bridge Club. She dominated in Bridge winning the “Cash Kitty” most of the time. Those who knew her well spoke of her as a humble servant despite her extraordinary talents and abilities. Her children saw her as a little bit of a comedian too.

The love of her life was her husband Fred, and Helen respected, honored and was completely devoted to him for 66 years until his death on April 5, 2011. She is survived by her children Philip Padden (Gail) of Lawrence, Jeannie Heck, Durango, CO and Patsy White (Steve) Missouri City, TX. Also surviving are seven grandchildren Dr. Jeff White (Britt), Dr. Brian Heck (Angie), Jennifer Grace (Brady), Brandon Heck (Holly), Tyler Padden, Kim Penny (Jon), and Kyle Padden (Lindsay). Helen was also dearly loved by fourteen great grandchildren, Katie, Andrew and Mackenzie White; Hunter, Morgan and Natalee Grace; Raeleigh and Vaughn Heck; Lauren and Gabe Heck; Alex and Ava Penny; Afton and Evan Padden.

Memorial contributions may be made in Helen’s name to KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center for Clinical Research and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

13 Condolences

  1. Don Hatton on January 28, 2021 at 11:00 am

    What a beautiful lady. She was kind and gracious and always pleasant to be with. She will be missed. Our prayers go out to the famil;y.

  2. Marc Mondi on January 29, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    Phil – so sorry to read of your mom’s passing. She was a very sweet lady, and I know will be missed by many. Will be thinking about you and all of the Padden family during this difficult time.

  3. Dale McCune on January 31, 2021 at 10:32 am

    Phil (and Gail),

    I have great memories of Helen and the extraordinary woman she was. She seemed to be ageless. I have often inquired about her as the years have passed. You were blessed to have such a wonderful mother (and parents).

  4. Delbert Sheldon on February 1, 2021 at 8:39 am

    Jeanie … So Sorry to hear of Your Mother passing ????❤️

  5. Ruthie Goldey on February 2, 2021 at 10:44 am

    Helen was one of the sweetest ladies that I have ever known. She was always classy and the deep faith in Christ showed as she allowed Him to guide her. She waa AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL!

  6. Kathy Waite on February 4, 2021 at 7:50 am

    So sad to hear of your mother’s passing. She had been a part of my mother’s life at Presbyterian Manor starting with the Alzheimers Unit and then in the Nursing wing. I remember her always being gracious and ready with a smile when I visited. It sounds like she lived a wonderful life and set a shining example for her family to cherish. Prayers for your family in your loss. Justin and Kathy Waite, Winfield, KS.
    Maxine Holman is my mother.

  7. Mindy Patton on February 4, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    I was so sad to hear of Helen’s passing. She was a beautiful “lady”. So poised and sweet. I was given the pleasure of being her hairstylist in her final years. We would talk about cooking and recipes. My final time with Helen she really hadn’t wanted to get her hair fixed. She sat in my chair just a bit grumpy and I began singing nursery rhymes. She soon joined in and we laughed and sang. That was the day I knew I was telling her goodbye as she was moving to Texas. I will always remember her sweet smile, her sense of fashion and all things a true lady is. I feel I was given a gift kn meeting her. My sincere sympathy to her family and friends.

  8. Sarah Standerfer on February 5, 2021 at 2:48 am

    I am sorry to hear of Helen’s passing. I spent many years as a nurse on the Presbyterian Manor Alzheimers Unit then in the Healthcare unit. I cared for Helen in both areas. She was always so sweet and loving. She was loved by all staff. I enjoyed hearing stories of her younger years and all the things she experienced. I have many memories of and with Helen. Prayers to your family.

  9. Jana Wooderson on February 5, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    You were always so sweet with your mama…so loving and thoughtful. She was a sweetie. My prayers for comfort and peace for you and your family. God bless, Jana Wooderson
    (Bud & Jo Riley’s daughter)

  10. Stacy Perry on February 6, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    Patsy and Family,
    Reading this warms my heart. Your mother’s love and devotion clearly shows in each and every one of you. May our Lord and Jesus Christ our savior be your guiding light in this difficult time.
    Love and Prayers
    Stacy and Mark Perry

  11. Mary Nowlin on February 7, 2021 at 10:38 pm

    Daer Patsy my heart is saddened by the loss of your sweet mother. But glad she is with Jesus and awaiting her family. Blessings

  12. Frances Heck on February 15, 2021 at 11:21 am

    I loved reading about your Mother as I felt like I knew her but guess I really did not know of what she liked to do. It was at Jeannie’s and Steve’s house that we would see the Paddens when we came into Lawrence. I have talked to Jennnie but to none of the rest of you. I want you to know no matter their age it is hard to know that a Mother and Grandmother’s life is over and our memories must carry us forward. I was reading about my sorority sister and just happen to come across Helen Padden’s information. Bless you all and sorry you must wait till May to really have a celebration of life.

  13. HHS Class of 1967 on March 18, 2021 at 5:43 pm


    We send condolences on the passing of your Mother.
    She was an ever-present, trusted Mother throughout our childhood!
    My thoughts are with you…

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