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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

In Loving Memory of Aunt Helen


Psalms 116:15  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

In April of 2014 I posted a memorial to my great-uncle, Dana Mathna.  This past summer his dear wife, Helen Hoover Mathna, went to be with the Lord also.

I told a good deal about Aunt Helen and their family in the previous post, so I will not repeat it all here, but please to take the time to go back and read it if you can.  Uncle Dana was a great blessing also, and I mentioned a good bit about Aunt Helen there as well and various things that affected her life.

Added to the previous information, Aunt Helen was born on January 29, 1925.  She was the sister of my grandfather.  She is the last one on either side of the family from my grandparents’ generation.  Somehow that seems sad to me because we’ve lost a connection with the past that can’t be replaced.  But, this is one of the aspects of time that is unavoidable.

Uncle Dana and Aunt Helen were married in June of 1946 and Aunt Helen wore my grandma’s wedding dress.  I believe they planned their wedding for when my grandparents would be home (see picture at the other post).

Aunt Helen was primarily a homemaker and loved her family very much (you can see more pictures of them all at the post about Uncle Dana). 

She was a sweet Christian and a real prayer warrior.  She was also a member of the Shippensburg First Church of God for 78 years!  She worked in the nursery, taught Sunday School and served as a Deaconess for many years.  After Uncle Dana retired, she helped him with custodial work at the church building.

This is the old building of the Shippensburg First Church of God (Pennsylvania).  It was within walking distance from their house, which was convenient for church meetings as well as the custodial work.  I remember attending services there.

My mother always speaks lovingly of Aunt Helen.  She thought very highly of her.  Mom’s family visited them and Grandpa’s home church in Shippensburg whenever they came home on furlough, and those were happy times to her.

This is how I remember Aunt Helen.  She is the only great-aunt that I knew very well, and I’m very thankful I had that privilege. I remember her as a kind and gentle lady.  She didn’t always talk as much as some of the others when we were all together, but you could tell she enjoyed being with her family and she considered us as part of that.  We stayed with them a couple times that I can remember and it was a pleasure to visit there.  I plowed my way through a collection of her books one summer when we spent a couple of weeks there. :-)  She had one of the sweetest smiles, and my mom has inherited it from her dad and his youngest sister.

This is Aunt Helen with her mother, my Great-grandma Hoover.  Aunt Helen really makes me think of my own mother in this picture!

I love this picture of Aunt Helen having a meal (dinner?) with these ladies.  I know two of them were related to her, and the little girl is her daughter, Janet (wasn’t she a cutie?).  That was her sister beside her and her mother is the first on the left.  Please notice that all the ladies in this picture are wearing aprons!  :-)  I am SO happy we have this picture! (Thanks to my Uncle Jim’s notable efforts at scanning.)

One thing I remember about Aunt Helen’s house was that the food was good.  She was famous in our family for her Chicken Corn Chowder and Pineapple Bake, as they called it.


I found this recipe from Aunt Helen in my mom’s write-in cook book.

Chicken Corn Chowder

Boil 2 C. water

1 envelope chicken noodle soup dry mix
1 Tbl. onion
1/4 C. rice

Cook until done.

2 C. milk
1 8 oz. can cream style corn
15 oz. boned, fully cooked chicken

Heat through and serve.


I couldn’t find the following recipe in the book, so I looked online and was able to figure out what it should be.

Pineapple Bake

Heat oven to 350F.

1 stick butter
1 C. sugar

Beat in:
4 eggs, one at a time

Drain and stir:
1 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple

Fold in:
6 slices day old white bread, cubed

Pour into a greased casserole dish (I think it was 2 qt.) and bake for 50 minutes or till top is golden brown.


I can’t post many pictures of her from later in her life because they aren’t scanned into the computer, and the ones my parents have would be time consuming to locate.  Perhaps another day (or year) I may add some.  Here is one last shot of her, which I love.  This was taken in their back yard.


  1. This is sooo beautiful. What a beautifl smile and woman and man. you are blessed. This is the time I was small and remember the kitchen and the dresses and all of this. Thank you for this warm , loving and hearfelt post....I went back to the old ones too. so bwautiful. Thank you for sharing your love of family...and God..Merri

    1. Yes, I am very blessed to have known these sweet people. I'm so glad this post was a blessing to you too. You must be around the age of my mom's cousins. :-) Thank you for your kind comment.

  2. Oh Mary, this post was so precious! This is definitely one of my favorites from you {{smiles}} Your aunt sounds like such a lovely lady - what a blessing to have known her. Thank you for sharing this sweet post at Roses of Inspiration. I will be featuring it at the party tomorrow afternoon. Hugs!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed this post so much. :-) Thank you very much for featuring me on Roses of Inspiration too.

  3. Fond memories and nostalgic pictures warm my heart. Your tribute is heart felt.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. :-) I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    2. What a wonderful post dedicated to your sweet Aunt Helen. I'm sure you must have done her memory proud. I loved seeing all of these great pictures from those days. I so enjoy looking at old photos like these even though I do not know the people in them....such a different place the world was back then!

    3. Debby, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was a blessing to have known her. I enjoy old photos too. :-) The world is hardly recognizable now in some ways. Praise the Lord that He never changes!

  4. Sweet memories! You were lucky to have her in your life!!!

    1. Yes, I was! Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. :-)