Cover photo for Helen Luverne Barrett's Obituary
Helen Luverne Barrett Profile Photo

Helen Luverne Barrett

d. May 1, 2011

Helen Luverne Barrett, the daughter of Edward and Emma (Jurgensen) Holdsworth, was born on October 26, 1920, on the family farm near Buck Grove, Iowa. Her family moved to Shelby County, Iowa, where she briefly attended school in Fairview Township. Helen then attended school in Tennant, Iowa, and graduated with the Class of 1939. She graduated from the Jennie Edmondson Registered Nurses Training Program in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 1943. On April 6, 1947, Helen married John Calvin Barrett at her parents’ home near Manilla, Iowa. Her cousin, Pastor Carl Holdsworth officiated at the ceremony.

Following their marriage, the couple moved onto John’s parents’ farm. They later took over the farming operation, and Helen helped on the farm and took care of the garden and chickens. Helen also worked as an RN at Myrtue Medical Center and the Shelby Medical Clinic for many years; she retired in 1987.

Helen was an active member of the Shelby United Methodist Church in Shelby, Iowa. She was helpful to area organizations, and had been a blood donor for many years. Helen spent time canning, sewing, and painting pictures. She was a wonderful caregiver and a modest hard worker.

Helen L. Barrett died on Sunday, May 1, 2011, at her home in rural Shelby, Iowa, having reached the age of 90 years, 6 months, and 5 days.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents; one brother, John Holdsworth; and two sons, Richard Barrett and Darrell Barrett. She is survived by her husband of 64 years, John Barrett of Shelby, Iowa; one daughter, Phyllis (Don) Barkhaus of Altoona, Iowa; one son, Tim (LuAnn) Barrett of Shelby, Iowa; one daughter-in-law, Becky Barrett of Shelby, Iowa; one sister, Grace Tindall of Oregon; two brothers, Eddie Holdsworth of Arcadia, Iowa, and Melvin (Clarion) Holdsworth of Denison, Iowa; nine grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and other relatives and friends.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, May 4, 2011, at the Shelby United Methodist Church in Shelby, Iowa, with Pastor Orris L. Drake and Jim Boardman officiating. Diane Book was the organist and Bonnie Peters served as the soloist. Casket bearers were Tom Barkhaus, Dylan Barrett, Travis Barrett, Brion Barrett, Todd Barrett, Teresa Hancock, and Troy Barkhaus. Burial was in the Shelby Cemetery, Shelby, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan was in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be left online at

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