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Helen Mae Reynolds, daughter of Fred and Bernice (Clark) Rice was born September 23, 1925 in Ringgold County and departed this life on June 26, 2018 at her daughter’s home, at the age of 92 years, 9 months and 3 days.
Helen grew up in Ringgold County and attended the Oak Grove Country School and Mount Ayr High School for the first part of her education.
On December 22, 1942 she was united in marriage to Ralph Lee Merritt in Grant City, Missouri and to this union four children were born: Sharon Rae (who died at birth), Beverly Jean, Betty Joann, and Richard Lee.
In December 1953 Helen was baptized into the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She was an active member and was committed to making sure her family attended faithfully.
After their marriage, Ralph and Helen started farming in Ringgold County. Helen worked along side Ralph. She had a green thumb and always planted a big garden and loved to raise beautiful flowers. Every spring she had baby chickens to take care of. The family vacation each year was attending the Iowa State Fair.
Helen worked for Roger’s Café for three years. Then in 1959, Ralph and Helen moved their family into Mount Ayr to a home on Lincoln Street. Ralph traveled back and forth to keep the farm operation going. Helen started working for the Ringgold County Hospital in 1960. In 1968 Ralph and Helen built a new home on Dunning Avenue so Helen could walk to work since she didn’t have a driver’s license at that time.
They were married almost 31 years when Ralph passed away suddenly in August of 1973 from a heart attack.
Helen worked in many departments of the Ringgold County Hospital for 18 years. She had the honor of being the hospital’s first registered E.M.T.A. She was also nationally registered for one year.
On April 27, 1974, Helen married Marvin Lee Reynolds and three step-daughters were added to her family: Cathy, Carri and Debra. Marvin and Helen loved horses, so they started raising horses with paint’s being their favorite breed.
In 1978 Marvin and Helen moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico where they could pursue their passion for horses. In Las Cruces, they were active members of the Sheriff’s posse. Helen was the only mounted female rider able to go on search and rescue due to her training at the Ringgold County Hospital and being an E.M.T.A. Marvin and Helen enjoyed raising, breaking, training, and selling horses and dogs and doing a lot of riding. Besides her love for horses she loved her dolls and dogs. In 1985 they returned to Mount Ayr and continued raising horses.
It was a treat to drive by their orchard south on highway 2 in the spring and look at the cute colts in the pasture.
Helen was a loving and devoted Mother, Step-Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother and Great-Great Grandmother. Her family was very important to her and she was always there to help. She was always the family “nurse” due to her hospital experience.
Helen had been a Legion Auxiliary member since 1977. She sold poppies on poppy day, was a hospital auxiliary member for four years and a hospital volunteer worker for two and half years. She also worked at the blood blank several years admitting donors and then later in the kitchen. She loved her church at the Family Worship Center in Kellerton and her church family.
She loved the summer time when she could get outdoors and work in the yard and her flowers. Her family always enjoyed her beautiful roses in the summer time. In the winter time, Helen loved to put puzzles together and take care of their two little house dogs.
When Marvin got ill in June 2006, Helen was by his side day and night. She lovingly took care of him with the help of their children.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brother, Herbert Rice, husbands; Ralph and Marvin, daughter, Sharon Rae, brothers-in- law, Marvin Main, Algie Link, Harold Merritt, Raymond Stewart and Norman Reynolds, sisters-in-law, Mary Ellen Rice and Bedonna Rice.
Left to cherish her memory are her children, Beverly (Derald) Noble of Mount Ayr, IA, Betty (Roger) Schlapia of Bellevue, NE, Richard Merritt of Mount Ayr, IA, step-children, Cathy (Wayne) Shoesmith of Carroll, IA, Carri Duckworth of Van Wert, IA, Debra (Kenneth) Robertson of Mount Ayr, IA. brothers, Hyatt (Darleen) Rice of Lenox, IA, Larry (Beth) Rice of Lenox, IA, Ronnie (Joann) Rice of Savannah, MO and Harold (Peg) Rice of Commerce City, CO. sister, Barb Stewart of Independence, MO. sisters-in-law, Loraine Link and Lucille Main.
Grandchildren, Brenda (Eric) Walters of Mount Ayr, IA, Amy (Brian) Jones of Bellevue, NE, Eric (Jenny) Schlapia of La Vista, NE, great-grandchildren: Kory Andrews of Leon, IA, Kelsi (Ryan) Brockelman of Osceola, IA, Brooklynn Leming of Bellevue, NE, Tanner and Sophia Schlapia of La Vista, NE, great-great grandchildren: Makayla and Landen Brockelman of Osceola and many nieces and nephews.
Step-grandchildren: Wayde (Mindy) Shoesmith, Waylan (Tonya) Shoesmith, Wendy (Terry) Thurman, Amanda (Hayley Palmer) Cole all of Carroll, IA. Scott Duckworth of Creston, IA, Jason (Holly Johnson) Duckworth of Van Wert, IA, Jeff (Cari Tallman) Robertson of Altoona, IA, Justin (Kimberlyn) Robertson of Wentzville, MO, step-great grandchildren: Ashleah and Nathan Shoesmith, Jordan, Trey and Taydem Shoesmith, Michael, Matthew and Mitchell Thurman, Tanner, Kayela and Thomas Schneider, Zane and Gunner Palmer, Chelsea Whitham, Colton Duckworth, Vanessa Robertson and Owen Robertson and four step-great-great grandchildren.
Services were at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 30, 2018 at the Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr, Iowa.
Officiating was Pastor Bart Shields.
Musicians were Clyde and Alice Sweeten. Songs sang were “Going Home”, “How Great Thou Art” and “Let the Living Water Flow”.
Casketbearers were Eric Schlapia, Scott Duckworth, Wayde Shoesmith, Waylan Shoesmith, Jeff Robertsonand Justin Robertson.
Honorary casketbearers were Kory Andrews, Tanner Schneider, Michael Thurman, Jason Duckworth, Tanner Schlapia and Jordan Shoesmith.
Burial was at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr, Iowa.
Memorials to the Family Worship Center in Kellerton, Iowa.

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