Cover photo for Helen Marie Petsche's Obituary
Helen Marie Petsche Profile Photo

Helen Marie Petsche

d. January 13, 2014

April 28, 1918 ~ January 13, 2014


Thursday, January 16, 2014

1:00-8:00 PM

Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home

Harlan, Iowa

A Wake Service will be held at 7:00 PM at the Funeral Home.


Friday, January 17, 2014

11:00 AM

St. Michael’s Catholic Church

Harlan, Iowa

Burial will be in the Harlan Cemetery, Harlan, Iowa


1 Daughter – Jane Petsche of Omaha, NE

4 Sisters

4 Brothers

Other Relatives & Friends

Helen Marie Petsche, the daughter of Henry and Mary (Muenchrath) Graeve, was born on April 28, 1918, in Earling, Iowa. Her mother died shortly after her birth, and she was raised by Catherine and Carl Zimmerman. Helen was baptized and confirmed at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Westphalia, Iowa. She attended St. Boniface schools, and graduated from St. Boniface High School in 1937.

On January 7, 1941, Helen was united in marriage to Michael Matthew Petsche at St. Boniface Catholic Church. After their marriage, Mike did carpentry work for the government and later served in the United States Navy; Helen worked for Boeing in Wichita, Kansas, and the Henry Ford Factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan. When Mike was assigned to the SS Buckley, Helen returned to live in Westphalia with Catherine and Carl. During this time, on November 8, 1945, the couple’s daughter, Jane Catherine, was born. After Mike’s discharge, the family continued to live with Catherine and Carl until 1951, when they moved to their home located near St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Harlan, Iowa.

Following Mike’s death on July 24, 1986, Helen and Jane traveled together extensively, visiting 48 states, seven Canadian provinces, and four Mexican cities. Helen had been a resident of Elm Crest Retirement Community for the last seven years.

Helen was an active member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Harlan, and she attended daily Mass as often as she could. She liked bowling, attending Aksarban races and shows, reading, ceramics, crocheting, and embroidery. Helen also especially enjoyed going out for coffee with friends.

Helen M. Petsche died on Monday, January 13, 2014, at the Elm Crest Retirement Community in Harlan, Iowa, at the age of 95 years, 8 months, and 16 days.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Michael Petsche; three sisters; and seven brothers. She is survived by one daughter, Jane Petsche of Omaha, Nebraska; four sisters; four brothers; many nieces and nephews; and other relatives and friends.

A Wake Service was held on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan, Iowa. Mass of Christian Burial was held on Friday, January 17, 2014, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Harlan, Iowa, with Msgr. Robert J. Chamberlain, Fr. John Frost, and Fr. Daniel Petsche celebrating. Kate Kohorst and Jan Rau served as musicians. Honorary casket bearers were Al Chamberlain and Ron Chamberlain. Active casket bearers were Bill Wingert, Joey Petsche, Neil Petsche, Mark Schwery. George Petsche, and Duane Chamberlain. Burial was in the Harlan Cemetery, Harlan, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan, Iowa, was in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be left online at
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