Helen Louise (Kennedy) Benning
HELEN LOUISE (KENNEDY) BENNING Cedar Rapids Helen Louise (Kennedy) Benning of Cedar Rapids passed away peacefully in Grimes, Iowa, on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. A private funeral Mass will be held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church with a burial at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Cedar Rapids. Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. A visitation will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home. As mandated by proclamation, social distancing must be practiced, which means a limited number of people to be allowed into the visitation at one time. The use of masks or shields is required. Helen was born in Parnell, Iowa, on July 25, 1932, the last of nine children born into the tight-knit Kennedy clan of Thomas and Mary Agnes. She graduated from Immaculate Conception High School in 1950, where she enjoyed cheering on her many friends, classmates and family members. Helen earned her Radiological Technician certification from Cedar Rapids Mercy Hospital, where her cheerful disposition and Irish wit helped her put patients at ease. Helen broke the hearts of many suitors when one lucky guy stole her heart and proposed on Christmas Eve at Immaculate Conception Church. Helen married George Benning in the same church on May 6, 1961. They were inseparable for over 47 years. Helen cherished her parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, but was thrilled to have her own Benning clan. Family was everything to Helen, and her kids know how lucky they are to have had such an amazing and dedicated mom. Helen was a full-time mother and head of a very busy house, making sure everyone's needs were cared for before hers. She was an unabashed supporter and cheerleader for her seven children as they grew up, driving to hundreds of practices and rehearsals, and attending wrestling and tennis matches, swim meets, basketball, volleyball and football games, school plays and band concerts. Most of all, Helen loved family vacations and celebrating birthdays and the holidays with her family. Helen's grandchildren were the light of her life. She was thrilled and grateful to be blessed with spending many vacations, birthdays and holidays with them over the years. When she wasn't spending time with her family she enjoyed playing bridge with her friends and the occasional trip to the casino. Helen was a devoted Catholic and active member of St. Pius X Catholic Church for over 50 years. Helen will be remembered for her sense of humor, positive attitude, smile and desire for the happiness of her family and friends. Her love of God and family was apparent to anyone who may have known her. She also believed if you were lucky enough to be Irish, you're lucky enough. Helen is preceded in death by her devoted husband, George; beloved son, Tom Benning; parents, Thomas and Mary Agnes Kennedy; two brothers, Timothy Kennedy and Joseph Kennedy; and her six sisters, Rita Puth, Mary Heitmeyer, Anne Brems, Madeline Kelsh, Ellen Lynott and Frances Haberle. She is survived by six of her children, Kathy Irvine, Richard (Peggy) Benning, Raymond (Valerie) Benning, Mike Benning, Mary (Jim) Noland and Jenny (J.T.) Clendenin; daughter-in-law, Sheryl (Tom) Benning; sister-in-law, LaDonna Benning; and several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. The family wishes to thank all the nurses, caregivers and staff at Kennybrook Village in Grimes, Iowa, for caring for Helen for the past five years.