September 19, 2013


Mass of the Christian burial for Helene Heithoff, 97, of Manning, will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Manning, with Father Robert Gralapp, celebrant.

Helene died Monday, Sept. 2, at Manning Plaza Nursing Home in Manning.

Lector will be Brian Riesberg, and eucharistic minister will be Christie Riesberg. Music is being provided by Sacred Heart choir with Anne Muhlbauer as organist and Laurie Stein as vocalist.

Honorary casket bearers will be Helene's grandchildren, and honor guards will be provided by Catholic Daughters of the Americas and American Legion Auxiliary. Burial will be at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Manning. Helene's family will greet friends following services during the luncheon in the Sacred Heart Parish Hall.

Johnson and Woodhouse Funeral Home in Manning is in charge of arrangements.

Helene's family requests that memorial donations be directed to the Cancer Society, Salvation Army or Iowa Public Television.

Helene, daughter of Joseph and Margret (Werder) Herbers, was born Jan. 23, 1916, on the family farm near Halbur, Iowa. She attended St. Augustine School in Halbur and graduated from the eighth grade. Helene then helped with the family dairy and worked part time at Eischeid & Tiefenthaler Store in Halbur. Helene later completed her GED.

On Jan. 28, 1942, Helene married Clarus Heithoff at St. Augustine Church in Halbur. They made their home on a farm northeast of Dedham. That August, Clarus was drafted and served three years with the Army Military Police. During this time Helene worked as a nanny in an officer's home at Fort Des Moines. After peace was declared, Helene and Clarus moved southeast of Manning to the present family farm which eventually became a Century Farm. When the children were a little older, Helene went to work for the USDA as a meat inspector, retiring in 1983. Clarus died July 24, 1984. Helene remained on the farm until 2005, when she moved to an apartment in Manning. In September 2012, Helene entered Manning Plaza Nursing Home.

Helene was a member of Sacred Heart Church in Manning, American Legion Auxiliary (67 years), Catholic Daughters of Americas, Manning Hospital and Plaza Auxiliary, Little Flower Study Club and Piece Makers Quilters. She enjoyed volunteering at the Manning Plaza, hospital snack bar, New Hope Bargain Store and the Hausbarn Gift Shop. Her hobbies included quilting, gardening, reading and traveling. In her later years, Helene took up the computer on which she enjoyed emailing her family and playing solitaire. She especially enjoyed having visits from family.

Helene is survived by her children: Diane Ploeger and husband Denny of Glidden; Bob Heithoff and wife Linda of Gibsonia, Pa.; Kathy Smith and husband Mike of Anchorage, Alaska; Barbara Wittrock and husband David of San Francisco, Calif.; Jodi Riesselman and husband Bob of Excelsior, Minn.; 13 grandchildren: Brian, Doug and Cherie Riesberg; Andrea and Chris Heithoff and Erin Greb; Joe, Ben and Gabe Smith; Phillip and Andrew Wittrock; Graham Riesselman and Kenzie Woods; a step-granddaughter: Kim Buelt; 11 great-grandchildren and one step-great-grandson; three sisters: Margaret Petsche of Nebraska, Trudy Esser of West Des Moines and Edna Dalhoff of Halbur; a sister-in-law Berdine Herbers of Las Vegas; other relatives and many friends.

Helene was preceded in death by her parents; husband; a daughter Cheri at age 3½; a son-in-law Dennis Riesberg; a sister Marie Rotert; a brother Orry Herbers; and four brothers-in-law: Joe Rotert, Roland Esser, Harold Petsche and Elmer Dalhoff.