Today would've been my grandma's 100th birthday.

Grandma Helen lived a remarkable life, and raised a wonderful family. I can't get over how beautiful she is in this photo, and what style she had. She was the most proper person I've ever met. She always corrected my grammar, and so I went to school, became a newspaper editor. She still corrected my grammar. I helped my father write her obituary almost one year ago. What a thing to have to do, write your mother's obituary.

Love you, Mom. Love you, Dad. Very much.

Helen Evangeline (Gowdy) Hovey, 99, of Elkhart, died at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday (April 30, 2014) at Hubbard Hill Estates. Helen E. Hawkins was born April 8, 1915, in Van Wert, Iowa, to Roy B. and Evangeline Hawkins. She graduated from Leon High School in 1932 and attended Simpson College. Helen grew up working in her father’s law firm. There, she attained skills as a typist and a stenographer, which served her throughout life. Her knowledge of English grammar established her as a resource for her entire family. Helen also had a natural talent for music and was the church organist in Des Moines, Iowa. ¶ It was this affinity for music that introduced her to William L. Gowdy. The two married on Aug. 29, 1937, and attended Drake University and Northwestern University. They moved to Elkhart, where they raised three children and Bill developed the choral music program at Elkhart High School. Helen worked for many years as receptionist and executive secretary at the Elkhart Rehabilitation Center. ¶ Bill and Helen enjoyed the music community in Elkhart and were active in the schools and church. They were members of Trinity Methodist Church and, later, First Presbyterian Church of Elkhart. Helen was also a member of Riverside Club, Matinee Musicale, and bridge clubs. Her husband Bill passed away on Dec. 19, 1974. ¶ Helen had experienced tragedy and loss earlier in her life. First, when her 17-year-old younger brother Roger Hawkins passed away unexpectedly before he was scheduled to attend West Point. Shortly after his funeral, she was involved in an automobile accident that claimed the life of her mother, her fiancé, and a close friend. These events seemed to form an empathetic nature and compassion towards others and their hardships. She will be remembered as a gracious, elegant lady. ¶ On June 28, 1979, she married Nilo W. Hovey. Nilo and his late wife Ruth had been Bill and Helen’s close friends. Helen formed a wonderful relationship with Nilo’s family and their children and grandchildren. Nilo passed away on March 14th, 1986. His family was of great joy and comfort to Helen through the rest of her life. ¶ Surviving are sons Roger (Marsie) Gowdy of Charlevoix, Michigan, and Bruce (Vickie) Gowdy; daughter Martha (Michael) Oyer; step-daughters Marjorie (James) Eger of Bristol, Indiana, and Lois (Wendall) Schmoe of Nokomois, Florida; five grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; nine step-grandchildren; and 20 step-great-grandchildren. ¶ She was preceded in death by a grandson, Jeffrey Gowdy. ¶ A family service will take place at Rice Cemetery. Hartzler-Gutermuth-Inman Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements. ¶ Memorial contributions may be given to First Presbyterian Church of Elkhart.

Grandma had just given my dad a look, showing us that she was still with us at a time she was becoming harder to reach, when he joked that he didn't know which Caleb he liked better - his German Shepherd in the 80's or my sister's fiancé. It's the last photo I snapped of Dad and his mom - shot from the hip, like he always does but I still haven't gotten very good at. Grandma Helen passed at the end of April 2014 at 99.

Grandma had just given my dad a look, showing us that she was still with us at a time she was becoming harder to reach, when he joked that he didn't know which Caleb he liked better - his German Shepherd in the 80's or my sister's fiancé. It's the last photo I snapped of Dad and his mom - shot from the hip, like he always does but I still haven't gotten very good at. Grandma Helen passed at the end of April 2014 at 99.