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.