March 31, 1921-Oct. 10, 2008
GRANT -- Long time Grant resident Helen Fidler passed from this life Friday, Oct. 10, 2008 at the age of 87.
Helen Cora (Cappel) Fidler was born March 31, 1921 at McCook, Neb. She was the sixth of 8 children born to August and Julia (West) Cappel who resided one mile west of Perry, Neb., in the lush Republican River valley.
She grew up on the farm doing the chores and attended the Perry school. Her father raised hay and subsistence crops. Helen would gather eggs, help milk the cows and care for the draft horses. She helped her mother with household chores and lived an uneventful life, until the third week of May 1935, when the devastating "Flood of '35" roared through their land. The flood was accompanied by a tornado and the family barely escaped with their lives.
Helen wrote a harrowing account of the tragedy which she published in limited quantities in 2000.
While attending McCook High, she was sought out by and began dating the school's quarterback, star basketball guard and lefty pitching phenom, Clarence 'Babe' Fidler. Helen graduated from McCook High on May 25, 1939.
She then attended Hastings Beauty College and returned to work in her home town.
The courtship with Babe blossomed but was interrupted by World War II when Babe joined the United States Navy to became an aviator.
The couple married April 11, 1943 at a base in Norman, Okla. Four sons were born to this union. The family lived in McCook where, after the war, Babe worked as an apprentice plumber. They moved to Hayes Center in 1948 where Babe and Helen opened Fidler Plumbing and Heating. The family moved the business to Grant in 1957. Helen often was the public face of the business while Babe was out working. She would gather parts and offer assistance to do-it-yourselfers and performed all the book work.
Helen was a long time Mary Kay beauty consultant. She worked tirelessly to keep the family's landmark 15 room home on Grant's main street in top shape. The Fidlers would open their home to people wanting a room. Harvest crews, baseball teams and businessmen all called 615 Central Ave. home when in Grant.
Babe and Helen sold the business in 1982 and bought a smaller home in Grant where they enjoyed their retirement years until Babe's death Nov. 28, 2001. Helen then moved to Westview Retirement Complex. In 2006 she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and moved to Park Ridge Assisted Living.
She moved to Golden Ours Convalescent home in September.
Helen was a member of the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church and attended Zion Lutheran Church regularly until very recently.
She was preceded in death by an infant son, Randy in 1951; husband Babe; her parents; two brothers Charles and Glenn Cappel and three sisters Dorothy Harris, Anne Greeley and Gladys Shepherd.
Helen is survived by son Keith and wife Virginia, granddaughter Tiffany, great-grandchildren Taylor, Lauren, Lindsay and Jocelyn, all of Omaha; son Mike and wife Janet, McCook; son Chris of Imperial. Sisters Rosa Bearden, Amarillo, Texas; Nora Lewis, McCook; sister-in-law Bettie Fidler of McCook; many nieces, nephews and many other relatives and friends.
Visitation will be 9 a.m.-8 p.m. MT Monday, Oct. 13. Funeral services will be held on Tue., Oct 14, 2008 at the Grant Zion Lutheran Church with Pastor Ron Krause officiating. Committal services and Burial will be at 2:30 p.m. CT at McCook Memorial Park Cemetery.
Bullock-Long funeral home is in charge of arrangements.