Helen M. Schweizer

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 5:26 pm

Helen M. Schweizer, 91, of Decorah, died Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah. Helen donated her body to the University of Iowa, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Deeded Body Program, for educational and research purposes. Memorial services are at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah, with Pastor Amy Larson officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to the organization of your choice that furthers Christ’s work in this world. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at fjelstul.com.

Helen Marie Schweizer was born Nov. 25, 1924, in Burlington, the daughter of Dr. George and Elma (Pollock) Pearson. She was baptized and confirmed at First Presbyterian Church in Burlington. Later, she joined St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Rochester, N.Y. She graduated from Burlington High School in 1941, and then earned her BM in both cello and voice at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. While living in St. Louis, she did further undergraduate work at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Following graduation from Eastman School of Music in 1945, she taught cello and voice at Valparaiso University. She was united in marriage to Edsel K. Schweizer Sept. 10, 1946. This union was blessed with four children: Martha Ann Weber, David George Schweizer, Timothy Paul Schweizer and Christine Marie Johnson. While Edsel attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Helen was principal cello in the St. Louis Philharmonic for several years. She taught in a Lutheran grade school and worked as a salesperson for various firms. In 1950, Luther College hired Edsel as a professor, coach, and Dean of students. Helen was hired to teach cello and voice. When Martha was born in 1953, Helen chose to retire from teaching to be a mother. In Decorah, Helen was an active volunteer. While president of the Winneshiek Hospital Auxiliary, Helen, along with Barbara Willis and Betty Dowe, began the CPR training of lay persons at Winneshiek Hospital. Helen served three terms on the Winneshiek County Civil Service Commission and served on the Boards of Aase Haugen Home, Inc., and Winneshiek County Physical Therapy, Inc. Her other voluntary activities included speech therapist for Special Education students; teacher’s aide, prescription assistance, Meals on Wheels, President of DHS Band Boosters, Aase Haugen Homes Auxiliary, Great Strides, Food Pantry and Luther College Woman’s Club. She was employed by H&R Block for three years. An active member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Helen served on the Church Council, as Sunday school teacher, choir member, president of WELCA, and president of the congregation.

Survivors include her siblings: Eleanor Northrup of Bryn Mawr, Pa.; Harriett (Eugene) Swager of Peoria, Ill.; and Warren (Margaret) Pearson of Northbrook, Ill.; children: Martha (Tim) Weber of Sammamish, Wash.; David (Dawn) Schweizer of Charles City; Tim (Dawn) Schweizer of Decorah; Chris (Eric) Johnson of Kingston, Ill.; grandchildren: Chris (Sara) Weber, Hilary (Noah) Clark, Jonathan Weber, Cole Schweizer, Caroline (Adam) Schwickerath, Mychal Schweizer, Isaiah Schweizer, Richelle (Patrick) Mahaffey, Ryan Johnson; great-grandchildren: Nathan Weber; Tyson, Grace and Joshua Clark; Ellery and Koen Schwickerath.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents, George and Elma Pearson; her husband Edsel (2003); and her brother George Pearson (2016).

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