STRATTON -- Helen S. Ekstrum, 97, formerly of Stratton, died Sunday (July 6, 2008) at Linden Court in North Platte.
She was born in Hitchcock County, north of Stratton to Roy and Effie (Gagle) Spencer, and attended country school near her home. She attended and later graduated from Stratton High School in 1929, and went on to attend summer school at Peru State Teachers College.
She taught school for a year before she married Carl A. Ekstrum on June 23, 1930. They lived on the Ekstrum homestead, just one mile from where she was born, for most of her married life.
She was baptized and became a member of the Church of Christ in 1943. She was involved in county extension work and was instrumental in organizing the first 4-H Club in Hitchcock County. In 1948, she was recognized as Outstanding Homemaker in Hitchcock County.
In 1951, she returned to teaching in the rural schools near her home, and attended summer school and night courses, receiving her bachelor degree in education in 1965. She taught fourth grade at Stratton Public Schools for 10 years before retiring in 1976.
They moved from their farm home to Stratton in 1975, where they lived until Carl died in 1990, when she moved to North Platte to be near her daughter and family. She had resided at Linden Court since 2000.
She was a member of Delta Cappa Gamma, and the Nebraska Association of Retired Teachers.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Roy and Effie Spencer; husband, Carl; son, Carlos; sisters, FaVola Spencer and Esther Doyle; and brothers, James Spencer and Russell Spencer.
Survivors include her daughter, Shirley Marie Matson of North Platte; sisters, Ruth Hayward of Trenton and Margaret Scott and husband, Everett of Anaheim, Calif.; one grandson; two step-grandsons; one great-grandson; three step-great grandsons; one step-great-granddaughter; and many nieces and nephews.
Graveside services will be Thursday, 2:30 p.m., at Pleasant Ridge Cemetery north of Stratton.
Visitation will be Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Church of Christ in Stratton.
In lieu of usual remembrances, memorials may be given in her name to Grandview Retirement Center in Stratton, or to the Alzheimer's Association.
Arrangements are under the direction of Forch Funeral Chapel of Stratton.