The Free Press, Mankato, MN


June 21, 2014

Helen Lois Strusz(Jones)

Helen Lois Strusz(Jones)

    Helen Lois Strusz (Jones), age, 95, was born May 24, 1919 in Judson Township, Blue Earth County, Minnesota and passed away Monday June 16, 2014 at the Providence Transitional Care Center.  She is the daughter of Roger D. Jones and Ida J. Jones

   Helen grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota and then moved to Mankato to attend Business College, where she met and married her husband Clarence Strusz in February, 1941.  In 1950 they took the adventure of a lifetime and moved to Anchorage Alaska, after Clarence accepted a help wanted ad for a carpet layer.  Her southern roots were never forgotten and she made frequent visits back to Minnesota, keeping in touch with family and friends.  While living in Minnesota she worked for Buttreys Dress Shop and Crane Ordway.  After moving to Anchorage she worked for Northern Commercial Company and over 20 years as a bookkeeper for Brady's Floor Covering until her retirement, and still remains close friends with her co-workers.

   She had a strong faith in Jesus Christ and was an active member of Central Lutheran Church and several Church Circles.  She was very involved with the Pioneers of Alaska, Prospectors Club, Red Hat Club, Senior Center, Toastmistress, Center for the Blind, AARP, and Anchorage Woman's Club (to name a few).  Wherever she went, Helen was the life of every party and loved everyone she'd met.  She had a wonderful sense of humor and a big hug and smile for everyone.  She loved potlucks, especially the desserts.  She never missed an event in Anchorage and around the state, and she always contributed something.  She enjoyed baking for everyone and her specialty was rhubarb pie and banana bread.  She was a wonderful seamstress and made beautiful dresses and gowns for anyone who'd ask.

   Helen loved to travel and saw many places around the United States and the world.  Her most memorable trips were her and Clarence's trip to Hong Kong, a trip to Wales (her homeland) and the Holy Land, all wonderful experiences she loved to share with others.   She treasured spending time with family and friends at her Big Lake cabin and many were fortunate to get an invite.  

    Helen was a true role model for Bill and Shirley and all their friends; as well as many others she befriended and helped over the years.  She adored her many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.  She never turned away anyone who needed help, and she was always generous with her time.  Helen was a life-long learner.  She overcame her difficulties with macular degeneration when reading became difficult, and she had every reading machine and magnifying glass she could find so she could continue to read and learn.

    Helen is survived by her son Bill Strusz of Palm Springs, California, daughter Shirley Strusz-Ruda and son-in-law Mike Ruda of Anchorage.  She is also survived by her sister Marion Sayler of Arizona, brother Roger A. Jones and sister-in-law Carol, sister-in-law Doris Jones of Minnesota, along with several nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews both on the Jones and Strusz side of the family.  She is preceded in death by her husband Clarence, sisters Sarah Ann (Sal) Oehler and Dorothy Jones, and brother Lyle Jones.

    Bill and Shirley would like to sincerely thank all of Helen's friends who loved her, cared for her, shared with her, and provided transportation for her over the past several years.  Your kindness is greatly appreciated.

   A service is planned in Anchorage for Wednesday June 25th at Central Lutheran Church at 4:00 with a reception immediately following at the church.  A service will also be held in Mankato, Minnesota on July 8th at Woodland Hills Cemetery Chapel at 3:00.

  In lieu of flowers donations may be given the Anchorage Center for the Blind, the American Macular Degeneration Foundation or a charity of your choice.

     Arrangements are with Janssen Funeral Homes.

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