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Helen Jean Schei

Helen Jean Schei

Helen Sukert Schei, of Albuquerque, NM, formerly of Bemidji, MN, died April 4 of cancer-related causes. She was 81.

One of 10 children, Helen was born March 6, 1933, in Bemidji to George and Hazelle Sukert. She graduated from Bemidji High School in 1951 and married Donald Schei, co-owner of Lakeland Sporting Goods, on Jan. 16, 1954. She gave birth to a daughter, Barbara, on Jan. 26, 1956. Helen and family were members of the First Presbyterian Church in Bemidji.

Helen worked for the Beltrami County Courts and then the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs in Bemidji, followed by several years with the Social Security Administration. In her younger years she played on bowling and curling teams, traveling to competitions in the United States and Canada. Throughout her life, she loved watching sports, particularly baseball, football and basketball.

In more recent years, Helen enjoyed ocean cruises and traveling in Europe with family and friends, but her all-time favorite escape was spending time with her sister Pat in Hawaii, relaxing on the lanai, along with extended visits from her brother Buzz. Helen has lived in Albuquerque, NM, since 1981, a city that she loved for its dry climate and year-round sunshine. She moved there several years after her husband Dons death in 1976.

After 33 years in Albuquerque, amid failing health, Helen moved to Iowa in January of this year to live with her daughter and family, making her special living area in their four-season sunroom where she could continue to enjoy the warmth and bright sunlight that she loved so much.

Helens hallmark was helping others. She was thoughtful, kind, generous and always doing things for other people. Everyone loved her. She was a people-person and within minutes of meeting someone she had made a new friend for life. Her contagious smile and laughter brightened everyones day.

Helen is survived by her daughter, Barbara (Richard) Heki of Johnston, IA; four grandchildren Jason (Aubrey) of VA, April and Andrew of Johnston, IA, and Ryan of San Antonio, TX; a great-granddaughter, Aleigha, of VA; four sisters Lora Mae (Bill) Jefferson of Minneapolis, MN, Patricia (Charles) Steele of Kona, HI, Kay (Bob) ORourke of Bend, OR, and Marianne (Victor) Castellani of Boston; one brother Haven (Buzz) Sukert of The Woodlands, TX; her sisters-in-law Marge Jergenson of Minneapolis, MN, Willie Warrington of Bemidji, MN and Myrtle Warrington of King City, OR. She was preceded in death by her husband, Donald Schei; her parents, George and Hazelle Sukert; a sister Gladys [Pep] Leitheiser; and three brothers Charles, Jack and Gerald Warrington.

Funeral services will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Cease Funeral Home, 2807 Irvine Ave. NW, Bemidji, MN. A visitation will precede the funeral at 10 a.m., and interment will be held at Greenwood Cemetery at 2 p.m.

Friends are invited to share memories or personal messages with the family on this website:

Friends who wish to contact Helens immediate family (daughter) may do so at the following address: Heki family, PO Box 30014, Johnston, Iowa 50131.

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