Helen Dieter
December 23, 1922 - February 11, 2019

Visitation February 15, 2019 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM Pauley Jones Pfannebecker Funeral Home, Denison, Iowa
Rosary February 15, 2019 4:30 PM Pauley Jones Pfannebecker Funeral Home, Denison
Prayer Service February 15, 2019 7:00 PM Pauley Jones Pfannebecker Funeral Home, Denison
Service February 16, 2019 10:30 AM St. Ann Catholic Church, Vail
Cemetery St. Ann Catholic Cemetery, Vail

Obituary for Helen Dieter
We have received word that Margaret Ellen Lally Dieter of Cedar Falls, Iowa, died peacefully on 11th day of February, 2019, at the Western Home Deery Suites in Cedar Falls. She was surrounded by her loving and admiring family. She had attained the age of 96 years, 1 month, and 19 days.

Born December, 23, 1922, at the Lally family farm home in Hayes Township, Crawford County, Iowa, she was the fourth child and the second daughter of the late John Patrick and Margaret Marie (Houlihan) Lally. She attended the Hayes No. 4 one room school house, also known as the "Lally" school, until completion of 8th grade. Then, with her siblings, she travelled five miles to Vail, Iowa, to attend St. Ann's Academy until her graduation in May 1940. She graduated from the Commercial Extension School in Omaha completing a course of secretarial and short-hand writing. She was employed at the Crawford County Bank in Denison while boarding with her Aunt Bridget Houlihan Beirnes.

She married her beloved Robert Harold Dieter on March 8, 1943. They spent their lives on a typical Iowa small farm one mile north of Vail in Crawford County. Helen was a proud wife and mother to six children.

In the 1950s, Helen worked at the Crawford County Agricultural Conservation Office in Denison as a stenographer. In 1969 she was employed at the Vail Observer as editor at a time when the office was in the old creamery on the Lincoln Highway. She was always pleased with her ability to find uses of her short-hand and editing skills.

While blessed with a rich voice herself, she was especially fond of husband Bob's Irish baritone singing. Their life story began as she first noticed him at St. Ann's High School when he sang the "Kerry Ring Song" with other chorus members in 1939.

She was the main caretaker for Dad and provided attentive support for him in his later years. Helen supported and encouraged her own children in their educational endeavors. When in her 80s with little time to spare, she volunteered to assist as a literacy reading program tutor at Holy Spirit School in Vail. She was extremely proud of the Kuemper High School education of her six children.

In 1983, they moved into town and lived on Somerset Street where they enjoyed the company and community of Vail friends and being close to St. Ann's Church. After 68 years of marriage, upon the death of her husband, Helen spent time with her children in Pennsylvania and in Iowa.

She is survived by six children: Patricia (John) Reidell of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania; Joan Fraser of Placerville, California; Robert (Mary Beth) of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Gregory (Peggy) of Ames, Iowa; Thomas of Sarasota, Florida; and Brian (Mari) of Iola, Texas. Left to cherish her memory are 30 grandchildren and 45 great-grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews and their families.

She is also survived by brother-in-law, James V Haney of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota; and sister-in-law, Mary Z. Lally, Denison, Iowa.

Helen was pre-deceased by all of her siblings and their spouses: John P. and Regina (Owens) Lally of Denison, Iowa; Joseph T. and Rita (Kelly) Lally of Vail, Iowa; Jane Marie (Lally) and Elmer Thompson, Santa Monica, California; Catherine (Lally) and John G. Lawler, Westside, Iowa; Theresa (Lally) Haney, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota; Genevieve (Lally) and Edward J. Pribyl, Omaha, Nebraska; and Martin Lally, Denison, Iowa. She was also pre-deceased by one son-in-law, two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

In an era when the role of Catholic god-mother was fondly expressed with birthday wishes and a gentle guiding relationship, her god-children were nephews and nieces: James Patrick Lawler, Janet Pribyl Fitzpatrick (deceased), Richard Lally, Michael Lally, and Timothy Lally, also Teresa (Teri) Dieter, and Angela Piper Namanny.

The family would like thank the Cedar Falls Western Home and the entire staff and nurses at Stanard Family Assisted Living and at The Deery Suites for their care during her stay. In addition, mother was so appreciative of Eucharist Ministers from St. Patrick's Parish for faithfully bringing the Eucharist to her.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. Ann Catholic Church in Vail or The Western Home Communities in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in Helen's name.

Hayes No. 4

Page 83 of the Manning Schools history book


John Lally farm - photo from my Great-uncle Frank Ehrichs' collection.


Back to Dave Kusel's main page