Helen Hemwall, 100, Supported medical missions

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Helen Mary Hemwall died peacefully on July 8, 2012, less than two weeks from her 101st birthday. Born on July 20, 1911 in Chicago, she was the fifth child in a family of 10 born to Robert and Margaret Gordon Moore. A lifelong resident of the Austin/Oak Park area, Helen graduated from Austin High School in 1927 at the age of 16 and from Moody Bible Institute with a degree in General Studies in December 1935.

In 1933, she married Dr. Gustav A. Hemwall, with whom she shared life and love for 65 years. An active homemaker and volunteer, she spent hours in service though her church, most recently Calvary Memorial Church, and with the Auxiliary at West Suburban Hospital, where her husband served many years on the medical staff.

She joined in on her husband's many philanthropic activities. Despite a fear of flying, for instance, she began, late in life, to travel internationally with her husband in support of medical missions and children's relief. After his death, she moved into the Holley Court Terrace senior community in Oak Park in 1999 and lived there until the weeks preceding her death.

Mrs. Hemwall had a lively sense of humor, an infectious laugh (which could bring those around her and herself to tears) and a beautiful whistle "while she worked." She enjoyed handiwork, crossword puzzles, reading and playing games with her grandchildren. She and her family cherished summers spent at Honey Rock Camp (Eagle River, Wis.), the North Wood's campus of Wheaton College.

Helen Hemwall is survived by her daughters, Judith Swanson, Carol (Kurt) VanderPloeg, Laura (Robert) Watson, and Martha Hemwall (John Peterson); 10 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; her sisters-in law, Mary Eileen (the late William) Moore and Ruth (the late Richard) Moore; and her many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gus; her siblings, Gordon, Robert, James, Daniel, Martha, Margaret, and Doris; and one grandchild.

Visitation will be held on Saturday starting at 9:30 a.m. until the service at 11 a.m., July 14 at Calvary Memorial Church, 931 Lake St., Oak Park. Contact the funeral home at 708-383-3191 (dbwfh@aol.com) for details.

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