Helen Susanna (Gater) Kurth, 101, of Coggon, passed away Sunday, March 29, 2020, at the Good Neighbor Home in Manchester, Iowa. Due to state and federal guidance on gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the family will not be having a public memorial at this time. Funeral services will be held at a later date. Murdoch Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Central City is assisting Helen's family.
Helen was born Oct. 24, 1918, in Coggon, Iowa, the daughter of Willie Lytton and Ruth Lorene (Morris) Gater. She attended Coggon schools and graduated with the Class of 1936. After graduating, Helen studied piano and other educational courses. On April 10, 1938, she was united in marriage to Floyd L. Kurth at the Coggon Methodist Church. Born to this union were two sons, John Floyd Kurth and Eldon Duane Kurth. Helen and Floyd lived at Walker, Iowa, (Spencer's Grove area) for the first three years of marriage, where they farmed. They moved to their present home west of Coggon in 1941.
Helen served as the Coggon Methodist Church organist starting in 1935, followed by serving as pianist/organist at Coggon United Parish Church. Helen retired at age 92 after serving more than 75 years as church organist and pianist to Coggon and other area churches and organizations. Helen also sang in the choir whenever given the opportunity.
Helen baked and decorated cakes for weddings, anniversaries and other special events for more than 40 years. A heartfelt interest in missions brought a lifetime of giving quilts, layettes and other items to many in the United States and throughout the world. She made more than 500 school bags and filled them for the Methodist Church Ingathering. In addition, she made and donated quilts to Linus Project, the Veteran's Hospital and even sent quilts for children to Africa, Alaska and Vietnam.
Helen joined the Coggon Methodist Church in 1939, and was an active member participating in the women's groups, Women's Society of Christian Service (W.S.C.S) and United Methodist Women, serving as treasurer for UMW for many years. She also served on the church board and in the choir. Helen compiled a history of the local church council.
Helen was a charter and life member of the Coggon Community Historical Society and served as secretary for more than 30 years. She was a member of the Coggon American Legion Auxiliary Unit 362, Linn County Farm Bureau, Help Other People Everywhere (H.O.P.E) of Northfield, Minn., National Graves Disease Foundation, Coggon Quilt Club, Old Opera House Council and Linn County Historical Society. Helen held longterm offices in several of these organizations. In 2010, Helen was a recipient of the Governor's Volunteer Award, presented by Gov. Chet Culver in honor of her many, many volunteer hours in a variety of organizations. She was honored to be the subject of a graduate school paper entitled "The Works of Her Hands" which was written regarding her music, cake decorating and writing. Helen wrote a number of articles for local and some national newspapers and magazines. Helen also enjoyed traveling the United States, Canada and Europe.
Helen is survived and lovingly remembered by her son, Eldon D. (Patricia Goehring) Kurth of Cedar Rapids; four grandchildren, Chad D. Kurth of Coggon, Tim D. (Shawna) Kurth of Shellsburg, Jill (Edwards) Allen of St. Louis, Mo., and Jay M. (Kim) Kurth of Marion; great-grandchildren, Kinzley Faith Kurth and Kennacie Grace Kurth of Shellsburg, and Jillian and Shelby Kurth of Marion; stepgrandchildren, Gabe (April) Johnson and Kelly (Eric) Barten; stepgreat-grandchildren, Eliza and Nathan Barten and Xander Johnson; dauther-in-law, Janit Kurth of Marion; sister, Wilma L. Baty of Cedar Rapids; nieces and nephews, Ron (Teena) Gater of Columbia, Mo., Brad Gater of Nome, Ark., Jeff (Sherry) Gater of Florida, Linda Neese of Indianapolis, Ind., Tammy (Curt) Coxwell of Coggon and Tara (Marty) Schlesselman of Fairfax; and many of Floyd's nieces and nephews, who were so good to Helen over the years.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Floyd on Oct. 23, 1982; son, John Floyd on Jan. 15, 2009; her parents; two brothers, Charles W. Gater who was killed in action in World War II near Normandy, France, and is buried there in St. James Cemetery (Brittany, France), and Morris L. Gater; infant sister, Edna Marie Gater; and sister-in-law, Betty Gater.
Please share a memory of Helen at www.murdochfuneralhome.com under obituaries.