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Monday, October 26, 2009

Helen Mathews LaBar, 1910-2009


Helen LaBar was born in Fulton County, Indiana, May 4, 1910, to the late Arthur and Minnie Mathews, and passed away on October 26, 2009. The family moved to near Union City, Michigan, in 1914. She graduated from high school in Union City, and went to Albion and Ypsilanti Colleges, obtaining a teaching certificate in mathematics. She taught briefly in the Thumb area of Michigan, and also at Lincoln and Fox schools, one-room schools outside Union City, for five years. She returned to college, and graduated from Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana, in 1931. While there, she met William LaBar, from Huntington, Indiana. They were married June 10, 1937, and immediately moved to Sawyer County, Wisconsin. They soon occupied a log cabin, built by her husband, near the Yarnell community, and began to raise their family. They moved to a 200-acre farm, which they purchased, near Edgewater, in 1945.
In 1952, Mrs. LaBar started teaching high school English and Math at Birchwood, Wisconsin. She also served as interim principal. After her retirement in 1970, she became a volunteer in nursing homes, which she continued to do into her 90s, leading Bible studies and hymn-singing, first in Wisconsin, and, later, in Michigan. In 1984, she and her husband moved to Union City. Her husband preceded her in death on June 26, 1991.
The LaBars were active in the founding of Wayside Chapel church, near Edgewater, Wisconsin, which was on land they donated, and they continued to be active in that congregation until they moved to Michigan. She was active in the Union City United Methodist Church, and was also involved in home Bible studies in the area, most of them in her home. She also attended Union City Wesleyan church, and Coldwater Nazarene church. She was known as loving the Bible, reading it daily, and memorizing much of it, including the entire book of Mark.
Mrs. LaBar became known as the creator of rugs, woven from used woolen fabric, using an interweaved braiding technique that she originated. She made several hundred such rugs, gave demonstrations, and taught many others this skill.
She loved music, and was pianist for Wayside Chapel church for many years, and also occasionally played for the Methodist Church in Union City, in addition to playing in nursing homes. She also loved making and connecting with friends, her family, reading, crossword puzzles, Scrabble*, and flower gardening.
Survivors include four sons, Martin and Faye of Liberty, South Carolina, Michigan, Montana, and Tennessee. There are ten grandchildren, who live in Alaska, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, and nine great-grandchildren, who range in age from five years old to two weeks old today.

*She beat me more than I beat her, when I last played her a few months ago.

Photo courtesy of Pauline LaBar-Shelton

14 comments:

Matthew Tietje said...

May the Lord give you and your family peace as He welcomes her, face to face, home.

Keetha Broyles said...

My mom shared much in common with yours, including the Scrabble.

I know you will have a coronation celebration for your mom, and I hope you will enjoy the time with family.

I think there is only joy when a saint "graduates."

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks so much, Matthew and Keetha.

Julana said...

I'm glad you had the blessing of such a wonderful mother. What an encouragement and example.

Weekend Fisher said...

Condolences on your loss.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Julana and Weekend Fisher.

FancyHorse said...

My condolenses to you and your family. She sounds like a wonderful woman, wife, mother, and friend. You know where she is, and that you will see her again! Hallelujah!

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, FancyHorse.

Arevanye said...

My condolences, Martin. What a very special person to have graced this world for a little while.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Arevanye.

Bonnie said...

What a beautiful tribute, Martin. May your memories of your mother's life well lived comfort you as you grieve her loss.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Bonnie.

i am Grateful... Kerry i am. said...

Your joys and sorrows in my heart in the passing of your dear mom. One more reason to look forward to then... now. ALL JOY!

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Kerry i am.