116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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HELEN MARIE (DUREK) QUASS
Helen Marie (Durek) Quass, 96, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, died Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, peacefully in her home surrounded by family and sweet dog, Schotzi.
Arrangements by Cedar Rapids Cremation Society. Memorial service will
be Friday, Nov. 19, beginning at 1:30 p.m. at St. Patrick's Church in Cedar Rapids by the Rev. Greg Bahl. Burial will follow after services at St. John's Cemetery.
Helen was born to Czech parents, Frank and Mary (Marie) Kosina Durek, in Cedar Rapids on Oct. 8, 1925. As a child she attended Czech school, St. Ludmila's and graduated from St. Wenceslaus High School. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force Corp as a Civilian Enlistee. She was assigned to Cedar Rapids as a Poppet Valve inspector. Adventurous as she was, she later transferred to Southern California, where she lived three years with her Aunt Helen and several friends. She loved group dates and dancing the Jitterbug and Tango.
After serving three years, her true love, Don, returned from the U.S. Navy. Helen especially loved her date with Don going to the Coconut Grove. Freddie Martin and his band were playing and Don proposed to her that night while the song "Until the End of Time" was playing. That became their song. On June 4, 1946, Helen and Don were married at St. Wenceslaus in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They were blessed with five children. In the midst of raising their children, Helen participated in many activities like making costumes for her children to participate in Czech plays. She also worked part-time at Sears. Her children have great memories of many family vacations traveling in a station wagon with five children and a fold-down camper to lakes and national parks. As Helen's children got older, she attended Kirkwood College and worked there for several years.
After her mother passed away she bought her first horse and horseback riding became a passion of hers. She enjoyed matching outfits with her horse, Chaltir and riding in local parades, especially the parades in Czech Village. Helen was a devoted Catholic and active member of St. Patrick's parish, where she volunteered as a money counter, peeling potatoes for the fish fries and as a member of the funeral choir.
She loved hosting family gatherings, especially those that involved her grandchildren and playing Rummikub. She was very proud of her Czech heritage and she immensely enjoyed singing with the Czech Heritage Singers. She enjoyed many other activities including: kayaking, parasailing, deep-sea fishing, hot air balloon riding, zip-lining, gardening, cross-country skiing and riding bike trails.
Proceeding her in death were her parents, Frank and Marie; husband, Donald; and sister, Marie "Maci" (Durek) Withey.
Helen is survived by her five children, Ron of Livermore, Colo., Jon (Mary) of Mount Vernon, Iowa, Kevin (Connie) of Burnsville, Minn., Kathy (Dave) Gansen of Hoffman Estates, Ill., Diane (Mike) McCoy of Red Feathers Lake, Colo., and her close niece, Karen (Jay) Withey-Smith of Red Feathers Lake, Colo.; grandchildren, Heather Quass, Sean (Jodi) Quass, Stephanie (Mike) Mischnick, Julie Quass, Lindsay Quass (Dan Lew), Heidi Gansen (Becky Hinsley), Jessica (Mike) Widener, Tim McCoy (Tan Nguyen-McCoy) and Tiffany (Andrew) Sullivan; and great-grandchildren, Andy, Annie and Katie Mischnick, Jonny and Emily Quass, Skylar Nguyen-McCoy, Everett Quass-Lew, Bennett Hinsley-Gansen, Maddox Widener, and another soon-to-be great grand-baby Nguyen-McCoy.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Patrick's Church, Cedar Rapids or the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, Cedar Rapids.
The family would like to extend a special thank-you to Diane Norton (ARNP) and the staff at Mercy Care, her physicians at Mercy Hospital and Mercy Hospice.
Helen lived a wonderful life and she will be greatly missed by all who have known and love her. She will always be remembered for lighting up the room as she walked in with her witty spirit and zest for life.