A Funeral Mass for Helen McKenny Garwood, age 88, of O’Neill will be held at10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov.13, 2019 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in O’Neill with burial in the O’Neill Cemetery.
Visitation was held from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 at Biglin’s Mortuary in O’Neill with a Parish Rosary at 7 p.m. Helen passed away on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019 at Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital in O’Neill. Memorials may be directed to the family for future designation. Biglin’s Mortuary in O’Neill is in charge of arrangements.
Helen Audrey Bowden was born April 11, 1931 in Omaha to Guy and Audry (Closson) Bowden. After the death of her father in 1940, she grew up on a farm with her mother, her sister, Glea (Gude) and her double cousins that she considered her brothers, Gene and Dale Closson. She had many happy memories of walking in the fog, meadowlarks singing, and muddy walks with her long socks rolled down. The family attended the Methodist Church in the summertime.
One of her fondest memories growing up was riding horses. Her mother taught her to use the sewing
machine and from there she taught herself to sew. She, thankfully, taught many others, including her kids, neighbors, and members of the 4-H Club that she led.
Helen attended Country School District # 37 and graduated from O’Neill Public High School in 1949. As a Sophomore her class went to Niobrara in the back of a cattle truck! They also went to Lincoln for the class Senior Sneak Day. When she heard of recent class trips to Europe her comment was, “How times have changed!” Her favorite subject in school was Arithmetic and she was awarded the Regents Scholarship upon graduating.
During High School she worked every night and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the picture show (Royal Theater) selling popcorn. She got to know Frank McKenny there and they were married on June 16, 1952 at St. Patrick’s Church in O’Neill. They became the loving parents of six children: Glea, Robert, Thomas, Bonnie, Steven and Jill. She was an avid reader and one of her favorite authors was Zane Grey. She would have one of her kids bring her home a book whenever they went to the library.
The family ran and later purchased the Gamble Store in O’Neill.
She married Blaine Garwood June 4, 1993 and they made their home in Atkinson.
After a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, she spent the last few years in assisted living in Hawarden, Iowa and O’Neill where she was lovingly cared for and enjoyed by all who knew her.
Helen is survived by her children, Glea (Dan) Hamik of Omaha, Bob (Debbie) McKenny of O’Neill, Tom (Carmen) McKenny of York, Bonnie Turpin of O’Neill, Steve (Katie) McKenny of Hawarden, Iowa and Jill McKenny of Yankton, S.D.; her step-children, Dean Garwood of Emmett, Karen (Richard) McConnell of Seward, Everett (Bonnie) Garwood of Nevada, David (Marietta) Garwood of Red Cloud; one step daughter-in-law, Sally Garwood of Page; 18 grandchildren; 40 great grandchildren; one great-great grandchild; her sister, Glea (Robert) Gude of O’Neill; many nieces and nephews; and too many loved ones that she took under her wing to count.
She was preceded in death by her father, Guy Bowden; her mother, Audry (Closson) Bowden; infant brother, Thur Bowden; cousin/brothers, Gene and Dale Closson; husband, Blaine Garwood; son-in-law, Jerry Turpin and step son-in-law, Eric Garwood.
In gathering stories about her life her great-granddaughter, Samantha Pearson said, “Don’t forget to Say that she was nice!” As the song says, “A broken heart is a heart that has loved” and she did LOVE!