Thursday, October 22, 2009

Helen Blythe McNeely Stumpff was born Sept. 25, 1915, at Cato, to the late Cleve

and Celia Blythe and passed away Oct. 15, 2009, at age 94 in Carmichael, Calif. Until she

suffered a stroke in July 1995, Helen had been a lifelong resident of the Crane and Cassville communities.

After her stroke, she moved to northern California to be near her daughter, Janice, and Janice's husband, Jim Lewis, of Fair Oaks, Calif., and her granddaughters Angela Lewis Isaacs (Seth) of Albany, Calif., and Shannon Muriel Vigil (Donald) of Berkeley, Calif. Helen was the great-grandmother of Stella Isaacs, Cyrus Isaacs and Lila Vigil.

She was preceded in death by her husband Glenn McNeely, her son Roger McNeely, her parents, and her only sister, Colleen Haddock, all of whom lived in the Crane and Marionville area. After Glenn's untimely death in 1970, Helen moved from her farm community to Cassville, and in 1991 married Gerald Stumpff. Helen and Gerald made their home in Cassville. Gerald passed away in 1994.

Helen began her working life as a schoolteacher in one-room country schools where she taught as many as 40 students in grades one through eight. She was fond of telling how she taught at Mountain Home, also known as "Possum Trot." Her students called her "Miss Helen." She also taught school at Scholten, near the farm where she and Glenn lived for many years, and later at Clay Hill.

She was baptized at an early age, and was a lifelong member of the Church of Christ. She was a "people person" who was known as a lovely hostess, a Sunday school teacher at the Scholten Church of Christ and a leader in 4-H clubs and other youth groups near Crane and Cassville. Immediately after World War II, Helen and Glenn provided a home and employment to a Polish refugee family with twin sons who had suffered in a German concentration camp during the war.

Despite her disability after her stroke, Helen enjoyed her family, found her way into the hearts of those who cared for her, and made many new friends in California.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Cassville Church of Christ, 1104 Mill Street, Cassville, under the direction of the Manlove-Stumpff Funeral Home, Crane. Interment will be at the Clio Cemetery. Paid