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Helene Sudmeier

Helene Sudmeier, 86, most recently of Amana, Iowa, passed away on Saturday, November 21, 2020 at the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital.

Helene Berns Sudmeier was born to Louis and Clara Harter Berns on April 15, 1934. The eighth child in a family of nine, she loved reminiscing about growing up with much-loved siblings on their busy family farm near Garnavillo, Iowa. Being one of the youngest siblings, Helene would often spend time helping her older siblings as they busily grew their families. This interaction fostered many close relationships with her nieces and nephews, leading Helene to remark that they often seemed more like little sisters and brothers. The warm relationships Helene had with her extended family gave her joy all the days of her life.

Helene had a joyful, merry personality and loved to tell stories of her early memories of James (Jim) Sudmeier, whom she met as a teenager when her sister Laura married Jim’s brother. She shyly noted he was tall and handsome, had an easy smile, and a gentle manner. It was a great joy when she became Jim’s wife in August of 1957, and they settled on a farm between Petersburg and New Vienna, Iowa. On this simple and lovely farm they would start their family, and continue to add to it when they eventually settled into a large family home in Earlville, Iowa.

Although Helene had many talents and interests, she would always consider her family her “magnum opus” or great work. Born to Helene and Jim would be six children: Russell (Rosalie) Sudmeier of New Vienna, Iowa; Susanne Sudmeier (Moses de los Santos) of Amana, Iowa; Jessica (Carlos) Garcia of San Diego, CA.; John Sudmeier of Manchester, Iowa, Sara (Fred) Osborne of Wilmette, Illinois; and Jayne Sudmeier of Dubuque, Iowa. Helene also has 11 grandchildren: Molly McAndrew of Dyersville, James and Robert Sudmeier of New Vienna, Brighton and Kanan de los Santos of Melbourne, Australia, Rio de los Santos of Amana, Gabriel and Isabel Garcia of San Diego, Felicia Sudmeier of Nashville, Tenn., and Lilia Rose and Keoni Osborne of Wilmette, Ill. In terms of family, the icing on the cake for Helene are her four lively and adorable great-grandsons!

Helene will be remembered for her quick smile and generous nature. She was very creative and dove into everything with a “can-do” attitude. She enjoyed reading, gardening, sewing up a storm, crocheting, and just about anything else she set her hands and mind to. After raising her family in Earlville, Helene spent many years living in Dubuque before joining her daughter Susanne and family (Moses and Rio) in Amana, Iowa. Many people recount her zest for walking the sidewalks of Amana tirelessly with a smile on her face. Helene enjoyed the community and people of Amana the five years she lived there. Helene’s final year was spent at the River Living Center in Guttenberg where she was especially delighted to be in the company of her sister, Laura Sudmeier. She loved the River Living Center and remarked frequently about how much she enjoyed the great food and life there.

Helene was preceded in death by her parents, beloved husband Jim, and siblings, Peter Berns, Roland Berns, Claudine Goedken, Clara Ann Neuhaus, and Aloys Berns. In addition to her offspring, Helene is survived by sisters Laura Sudmeier of Guttenberg, and Mary Krapfl of New Vienna, brother Louis Berns of Monona, Ia., and sister-in-law Rosie Berns of Garnavillo, Ia.

Visitation for Helene will be held at Clifton-Murdoch Funeral Home in Earlville, Iowa, on Friday, November 27, 2020, from 5-7 p.m. Per the Governor’s proclamation, a limited number of guests will be allowed in the funeral home at a time. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in her honor on Saturday, November 28, 2020, at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Earlville. Burial will take place at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Earlville. Due to current pandemic guidelines, all guests are required to wear a face mask and practice social distancing at all services.

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