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JOPLIN - Helen Hodges, 90, of Joplin died Friday, Oct. 31, 2003, at a Chester nursing home.

A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Bethel Lutheran Church in Joplin. Burial will follow in the Joplin Cemetery.

Helen was born on Nov. 8, 1912, at Chicago to Edward and Mary (Kreitmeir) Tempel. She moved with her family to homestead north of Chester when she was 4. Helen received her early education at the Tingdahl School near the farm. She continued her schooling in Joplin through her sophomore year, when she quit to help on the farm after her father was injured in a farming accident. In her early 20s, Helen worked as a cook on the Prescott Ranch near the Sweetgrass Hills.

She met William N. "Bill" Hodges and they were married on April 5, 1935, at the Tempel family home. They began farming 17 miles north of Joplin. He died in 1971 and Helen moved into Joplin and became an active member of the community. In the spring of 2001, she moved into Wheat Country Estates assisted living housing in Chester. In September 2001 she suffered a broken hip and moved into the Liberty County Nursing Home.

Helen was a member of the Immanuel Lutheran Church north of Joplin where she was active in Ladies Aid and taught Sunday school for many years. After moving to Joplin, she became active at Bethel Lutheran Church and in the ALCW quilting group. She also was active in the Farmers union and Liberty County Democratic Party. She served on the Liberty County Hospital Auxiliary and the Hi-Line Health Foundation board. During her years with the hospital guild, Helen volunteered as a hair dresser for the nursing home residents. She was a 25-year survivor of breast cancer.

Helen enjoyed crocheting and knitting afghans, gardening and cooking, family gatherings, Scrabble, and card games, especially pinochle. During her quiet time, she enjoyed reading and watching television game shows. She collected thimbles.

Helen enjoyed traveling. In the early 1980s, she made a trip to Germany with her son Richard to search out her ancestry. She also made a trip to Hawaii with her friend Havreen Frydenlund. She loved riding Amtrak and when the Empire Builder zoomed through town she would often say, "There goes my train."

Helen was preceded in death by her parents, Edward and Mary (Kreitmeir) Tempel; husband, William N. "Bill" Hodges; and infant daughter, Mary Kay in 1946.

Survivors include sons, Richard (Ann Joy) Hodges of St. Paul, Minn., and Dean (Mary) Hodges of Joplin; daughter, Sharon (Steve) Vondracek of Plains; brothers, Eddie (Joyce) Tempel of Chester, John (Ruby) Tempel of Apache Junction, Ariz., Bill (Marcia) Tempel of Pullman, Wash., Ted (Elvina) Tempel of Joplin, Bert (Ann) Tempel of Las Cruces, N.M., and Ben (Lorraine) Tempel of Kalispell; sister, Mary Gormley of Choteau; four grandsons; three granddaughters; 10 great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Memorials may be made to Breast Cancer Research.

Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel, Chester.


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