Helen Audrey Garwood, 88, of O'Neill died Sunday, Nov. 9, 2019 at Avera St. Anthony's Hospital in O'Neill.

Visitation was held Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 at Biglin's Mortuary in O'Neill with a parish rosary.

Funeral services were held Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in O'Neill.

Burial was in the O'Neill Cemetery in O'Neill.

Memorials may be made to the family for future designation.

Helen was born on April 11, 1931 to Guy and Audry (Closson) Bowden in Omaha. After the death of her father in 1940, she grew up on a farm with her mother, her sister Glea (Gude) and her double cousins that she considered her brothers, Gene and Dale Closson. She had many happy memories of walking in the fog, meadowlarks singing and muddy walks with her long socks rolled down. The family attended the Methodist church in the summertime.

One of her fondest memories growing up was riding horses. Her mother taught her to use the sewing machine and from there she taught herself to sew. She, thankfully, taught many others, including her kids, neighbors and members of the 4-H club that she led.

Helen attended Country School District 37 and graduated from O’Neill Public High School in 1949. As a sophomore her class went to Niobrara in the back of a cattle truck. They also went to Lincoln for the class "Senior Sneak Day." When she heard of recent class trips to Europe her comment was, “How times have changed!” Her favorite subject in school was arithmetic and she was awarded the Regents Scholarship upon graduating.

During high school she worked every night and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the picture show (Royal Theater) selling popcorn. She got to know Frank McKenny there and they were married on June 16, 1952 at St. Patrick’s Church in O’Neill. They became the loving parents of six children Glea, Robert, Thomas, Bonnie, Steven and Jill. 

Helen was an avid reader and one of her favorite authors was Zane Grey. She would have one of her kids bring her home a book whenever they went to the library.

The family ran and later purchased the Gamble Store in O’Neill.

She married Blaine Garwood on June 4, 1993 and they made their home in Atkinson.

After a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, Helen spent the last few years in assisted living in Hawarden, Iowa and O’Neill where she was lovingly cared for and enjoyed by all who knew her.

 In gathering stories about her life her great-granddaughter Samantha Pearson said, “Don’t forget to say that she was nice!” As the song says, “A broken heart is a heart that has loved” and she did love!

Helen is survived by six children Glea (Dan) Hamik of Omaha, Bob (Debbie) McKenny of O’Neill, Tom (Carmen) McKenny of York, Bonnie Turpin of O’Neill, Steve (Katie) McKenny of Hawarden, Iowa and Jill McKenny of Yankton, SD; four stepchildren Dean Garwood of Emmett, Karen (Richard) McConnell of Seward, Everett (Bonnie) Garwood of Nevada and David (Marietta) Garwood of Red Cloud; one step-daughter-in-law Sally Garwood of Page; 18 grandchildren; 40 great-grandchildren; one great-great grandchild; her sister Glea (Robert)Gude of O’Neill; many nieces and nephews; and too many loved ones that she took under her wing to count.

She was preceded in death by her father Guy Bowden, her mother Audry (Closson) Bowden, one infant brother Thur Bowden, cousins/brothers Gene and Dale Closson, her husband Blaine Garwood, one son-in-law Jerry Turpin and one stepson-in-law Eric Garwood.                               


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