Helen M. Gasser (April 19, 1923 – February 13, 2021)
On Saturday, February 13, 2021, Helen Gasser, loving wife, mother, and grandmother, passed away in Rochester, Michigan at the age of 97 from complications due to COVID-19.
Helen was born on April 19, 1923 in Chesaning, Michigan to Charles and Frances Coonrod, as the first of six children. She graduated from Our Lady of Perpetual Help parochial school in 1941, the only one of her siblings to graduate high school. After high school, she began working at Redman’s, a small machine shop in Owosso, Michigan. Later she worked as a clerical clerk at the Rehmann Health Center, until she retired in 1986.
On June 15, 1946, she married Urban R. Gasser. Although Helen and Urban knew each other growing up, their relationship did not spark until Helen began writing letters to Urban during World War II, while he was serving in the army. After the war, Helen and Urban were married and spent 67 years together as a happy couple. Together they raised their daughter, Mary Ann. They were active in their community and hosted many parties with their friends playing a local card game called Setback.
Helen’s nickname among close family and friends was “Sparky”, and she lived up to her namesake in all facets of her life. She was always quick to smile, joke, laugh, and offer kind words and encouragement to others. She loved spending time with her family and had a special place in her heart for her two granddaughters who enjoyed many weekends, summer vacations, and laughs with her. She had seemingly boundless energy and a zest for life that was contagious. She was a voracious crafter, a gifted quilter, and made the best apple pies. She was always doing crafts and had a knack for improvising patterns and embellishing her work—what she called “gussying up.”
Above all, Helen never thought of herself as old, which she showed by her willingness to embrace change and learn new things. Even in the final weeks of her life, she demonstrated a spirit to live and a desire to enjoy life to its fullest. When a broken leg at the age of 92 permanently confined her to a wheelchair, she did not let this setback sideline her. In short order, she taught herself how to move from wheelchair to bed and chair unassisted, using a slide board. This helped her to maintain a sense of independence that she was fiercely proud of.
Helen was also a devout Catholic and member of St. Peter’s parish in Chesaning, Michigan for her entire life. She talked often about her faith and her desire to be with Urban and her other loved ones in Heaven whenever God decided the time was right.
Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Urban, her parents Charles and Frances Coonrod, and her siblings, Theresa Koepplinger, Mary Hedrich, Charles Coonrod, Donald Coonrod and James Coonrod. She is survived by her daughter Mary Ann (Gary) Cibula of Oxford, Michigan, granddaughters Lori (Erik) Palmer of Bottmingen, Switzerland, Stacy Cibula of Montpelier, Vermont, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
A funeral mass will take place at St. Peter Catholic Church in Chesaning, on Thursday, February 18 at 11 a.m. Friends may visit the Misiuk Funeral Home in Chesaning on Wednesday, February 17 from 2 to 7 p.m., with a rosary prayed at 6:30 p.m. Social distancing measures, including mask wearing, will be required at both the funeral home and church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Peter’s Catholic Church at 404 S. Wood Street, Chesaning, MI 48616.
Misiuk Funeral Home
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