Helen Marie Blader, age 83, of Wautoma, passed away Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018 at Heartland House in Wautoma.
She was born April 30, 1934 in Fond du Lac, the daughter of Max A. and Helen (Bergmann) Blader. She grew up in Wautoma, Wisconsin and graduated from Wautoma High School in 1952, where her hearty laugh was well recognized, and on most days, could be heard across the school.
Following high school, she joined the Red Cross clerical staff, and was stationed in Japan and Korea. Returning to Milwaukee in the early 60's, she worked in the medical profession as a medical secretary and clinical office manager for most of her career, beginning with Marquette University's School of Medicine at Milwaukee County Hospital for the Department of Surgery. She was active in numerous professional organizations throughout her career, holding key positions with many of them. She toured Europe several times, connecting with relatives in Germany, and making a pilgrimage to Medjugorje.
She returned to Wautoma in the mid-70's to care for two aging aunts, bringing one to live with her in her new home there. She assisted many aging members of her family, and eventually her parents received her loving care in their final years.
During this time she continued in her career, working at La Clinica in Wild Rose, Silver Creek Clinic in Ripon, and Saint Joseph's Parish in Wautoma, among others. She shared much of her time and talent with her parish of St. Joe's, and for many years taught religious education to the children of the migrant workers in the camps in the Wautoma area. Helen Marie was a spiritual pillar for her family, as well, and she became an Oblate of the Order of Saint Benedict, of the St. Bede Monastery in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Helen Marie was an incredibly kind and giving woman who loved helping people. She had a big heart, and she shared it with everyone. Her greatest opportunity to do so perhaps came when she began work with the Waushara County Food Pantry. Under her stewardship it grew into a distribution center which served more than 23,000 clients and distributed close to one million pounds of food annually, 87% of which came from donors, because in her own words, "I'm really good at begging." In 2006, she was honored with the Green Bay Packers Community Quarterback Award, together with a $2000 charity grant to the pantry, for her tireless service. She had recently retired from the pantry, moving on to again care for the elderly through Cooperative Care, a home health care service in Wautoma.
She is survived by two brothers, Daniel (Patricia) Blader, Portage and David (Loye) Blader, Milwaukee; nieces and nephews, Cynthia (Douglas) Labrecque, Lisa (Stephen) Donahue-Dinklage, Cheryl (Marc) McLearen, Joan Woods, Beth (Paul) Camillone, Christine (Frank) Lucisano, Lisa Marie O’Connell, Jennifer (David) Hajigeorgiou, Daphne (Ethan) Lingsweiler, Tim (Kate) Blader, David (Sarah) Blader Jr, Dr. Laurence (Elizabeth) Donahue, Brian (Cindy) Donahue, Michael (Carrie) Donahue, Mark (Eileen) Donahue, Thomas (Devin) Blader, Philip (Meghan) Blader, Mark Blader, She is survived by numerous grandnieces, grandnephews, other relatives and many dear friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents and by her sister and brother-in-law, Maxine (Dr. Laurence) Donahue.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wautoma with Rev. David F. Greskowiak officiating. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery in Wautoma.
Visitation will be held on Friday at the Church from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services. In lieu of flowers, memorials are appreciated for the Waushara County Food Pantry in Wautoma.
The family wishes to express heartfelt appreciation to Vanessa Roebke, the staff of Heartland House, Berlin Hospital and Agnesian Hospice Home for their care and compassion.