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Helen "Skippy" Bell Atherton

Cedar Rapids

Helen P. "Skippy" Bell Atherton, 93, of Cedar Rapids, passed away on June 16, 2019.
Skippy was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on Nov. 12, 1925, to Ida B. and Hans Pauli. She attended Des Moines schools and graduated from Roosevelt High School. She then attended Iowa State for three years in textiles. There she met John W. (Jack) Bell and they married July 23, 1946. She and Jack raised their family in Cedar Rapids but also enjoyed McGregor, and built two homes on the Mississippi. They enjoyed many years of boating until Jack's death. Jack died Sept. 26, 1998. Skippy married Jim Atherton on Sept. 20, 2008. They were married three years before Jim's death in December 2011.
Skippy was so proud of her Danish heritage and enjoyed several trips to Denmark. When the king of Denmark came to Des Moines, a young Skippy presented him a bouquet and her family showed the king the town.
Her many organizations include Pi Beta Phi Sorority, Junior League, Cedar Rapids Country Club, Westminster Presbyterian Church and Questeps Club.
She loved gardening, and her hosta plants are in many gardens across town. She sewed many costumes for Playtime Poppy for years. She also loved decorating and refinishing furniture. Skippy loved people and parties, and she enjoyed her many last years at Cottage Grove Place. Everyone she met was a potential friend. She was a generous, thoughtful and loving mother who will be missed.
Skippy is survived by her three children, Dana (Dr. John) McManus of Tucson, Ariz., Jim (Jo Ann) of Iowa City and John (Beth Ware) of McGregor; and two grandchildren, Heather McManus of Phoenix and Luke McManus of Tucson. Skippy also is survived by her great-granddaughter, Ellie Jacobs of Phoenix.
She was preceded in death by her parents; first husband of 52 years, Jack; second husband, Jim Atherton; brother, Peter; and sister, Karen.
A memorial visitation, where family will greet guests, will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 22, with a Celebration of Life to follow at 2 p.m. at Cedar Memorial Park Chapel of Memories, 4200 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids. A private family burial will take place at Springville City Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be directed to Cottage Grove Place or Westminster Presbyterian Church in Skippy's honor.
Online condolences may be directed to the family at www.cedarmemorial.com under obituaries.
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