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Helen N. Murray

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST
Helen N. Murray

THE VILLAGES, Fla. – Helen N. Murray of The Villages, passed away Wednesday, May 7, 2014. She slipped away peacefully in the loving arms of the Lord and her family after a short illness.

She was born Jan. 19, 1937, in Galesburg, to Edward and Orla Nichols. She graduated in 1954 from Galesburg High School and in 1958 from the University of Illinois. She was a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority, and graduated with a degree in special education.

She married David E. Murray on July 5, 1958. In 1961, they moved to Sterling, where her husband practiced law with the law firm of Ward, Murray, Pace, and Johnson. She taught EMH classes in Champaign and Sterling for several years before becoming a mother and homemaker for their three children. She lived in Sterling and Rock Falls until 2012, when she and her husband moved to Tall Trees in The Villages.

In addition to being a loving Christian wife, mother, and grandmother, Helen was an avid gardener and reader. She enjoyed volunteer hospital work, and church work as an active member of First Congregational Church of Sterling. She was a member of the Philanthropic Educational Organization and the Sterling Hospital Auxiliary, and myriad other community activities, until Cushing’s disease robbed her of the ability to maintain many of her charitable activities. Before that time, she enjoyed skiing, traveling, and boating. She was an active member of the Whiteside and Sterling-Rock Falls Republican Women’s Clubs. At The Villages, she attended New Covenant United Methodist Church, and particularly enjoyed Tuesday night WOW dinners and Pastor Harold’s sermons. She also was fond of the Tall Trees Ladies’ Book Club.

She is survived by her husband of 55 years; her daughters, Lisa (Paul) Pederson of Winter Park, Colorado, and Heather (Tom) Ohmer and grandsons, Andrew, Jeffrey, and Jack Ohmer of Naperville; son, Michael (Olivia) Murray and grandchildren, Kiana and Finnegan of San Francisco; and a sister, Jane Tornquist of Kewanee.

A brief informal memorial service was held at the chapel of New Covenant United Methodist Church at The Villages. Local visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Schilling Funeral Home in Sterling. Visitation also will be from 10 to 11 a.m. May 17 and the funeral at 11 a.m. May 17 at The Big Red Church, First Congregational in Sterling, with the Rev. Jeff Coester officiating. Burial will be at Lower York Cemetery in Thomson.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established to Cushing’s Support and Research Foundation of Illinois.

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