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Helen Terry

Helen C. Terry, of Mt. Ayr, IA died on January 11, 2015, in Des Moines, IA, after a short battle with breast cancer. She was 85. Helen Ann Copenhaver, daughter of Robert George and Mary Loretta (Johnson) Copenhaver, was born in Freeport, IL on November 16, 1929. She was very proud of growing up on the family farm on the outskirts of Polo, IL, where she enjoyed raising and riding horses. She was particularly fond of her Arabian Silver Dawn. Helen was also proud of attending a rural one-room elementary school, Buffalo Grove near her childhood home; she was graduated from Polo (IL) Community High School in 1947 and from Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO in 1951.

Helen married Jack R. Terry and to this union four children were born: Martha Ann, Barbara C., Thomas Robert and Sandra Jean. The family spent fifteen years in Lamoni, IA, where Jack and Helen owned the weekly newspaper, The Lamoni Chronicle. In 1965 they purchased The Mount Ayr Record-News, and in July of 1966 the family moved to Mt. Ayr. Helen began working at the Record-News in 1968 and worked for nearly 28 years until retiring in August of 1998.

Helen was an active member of the Mount Ayr United Methodist Church, Chapter CK, P.E.O., Ringgold Singers, Chamber of Commerce and the Robert Burns Chapter of the Iowa Scottish Heritage Society. Helen was an avid sports fan: she rooted for the Mt. Ayr Raiders, Iowa Hawkeyes and Chicago Bears. She and her daughter Sandie shared a love of tennis, and Helen paid special attention to the careers of Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Andy Murray.

Helen loved to bake, especially bread, and often shared rye, white and whole wheat loaves with neighbors and friends around town. She cared deeply about giving back to the community, volunteering at the hospice in Mt. Ayr and the elementary school.

She is survived by her daughters: Martha Ann Terry of Pittsburgh, PA; Barbara C. McAnelly and husband Doug, of Indianola, IA; Sandra Jett and husband David, of Mountain Home, ID, who called her variously Mom, Mother and Helen, depending on the circumstance; by her four grandsons, Christopher Chiusano and wife Deana, of Cranberry Township, PA, Terrence Chiusano of Pittsburgh, PA, Dru McAnelly and wife Meredith, of Bondurant, IA, and Wade McAnelly and wife Jamie, of Minnetonka, MN, (who all called her Grammy); and by five great-grandchildren, living in Pennsylvania and Iowa, who called her SuperGrammy; and by one brother, James Copenhaver and wife Ann, of Lake Forest, IL.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her elder brother, Robert Copenhaver and wife Esther, and by her son, Thomas Terry.

In lieu of flowers, and in accordance with Helen's wishes, the family requests that donations and memorials be directed to funds established at the Mount Ayr United Methodist Church, the Mount Ayr Public Library, and HCI Care Services.

Please wear your favorite team colors in memory of her love of sports.

  • Open Viewing

    January 15, 2015
    12:00 PM to 8:00 PM

    Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home

    205 West Monroe St
    Mount Ayr, IA

  • Family Will Be Present

    January 15, 2015
    6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

    Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home

    205 West Monroe St
    Mount Ayr, IA

  • Funeral Service

    January 16, 2015
    10:30 AM

    United Methodist Church

    301 West Madison St
    Mount Ayr, IA

  • Burial At A Later Date

    Fairmount Cemetery

    Polo, IL

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen Terry, please visit our flower store.


Helen''s special smile & hug, I cherished each Sun morning at church. She was so very special, so caring & such a delight to be with. Her memory will always be treasured.

Posted by Sheila Marler - Mt Ayr,, IA - Friend   January 16, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

My wife, Linda, and I mourn the passing of a grand lady. Our years of relationship with Ringgold Singers led us to know and admire Helen. All who knew her will miss her energy and her laughter.

Posted by John Standerford - Bedford, IA - friend   January 16, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Thinking of you and your families during your loss. Helen was a wonderful person.

Terri and Steve Akes

Posted by Terri Akes - Indianola, IA   January 15, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Growing up I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with Helen with my grandparents, Keith and Twilla Lininger. She was such a kind, beautiful spirit! As I was reading her obituary, I had to smile at the mention of her love for baking bread. The wheat bread that she made was delicious and I always looked forward to eating it when I would go to grandpa and grandma''s house!

Posted by Angie Shay - Urbandale, IA - Friend   January 14, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

I remember moving into the "Terry House" in Lamoni. I had been gone to camp and arrived to the family all moved in. I had the room that had belonged to Barb and Martha. When Terry''s lived there I remember an indoor treasure hunt that involved riddles hidden all over the house. I solved a clue and found the next one on the oven door.
Helen was generous with her baking especially around Christmas time when the traditional Stolen Holiday Bread arrived. She would pop in the back door and holler Yoo Hoo to announce her presence.
Helen was a dear, dear friend to our mother Jo Bridge. She will be missed.

Posted by Bonnie Bridge Orris - Jefferson, IA - friend   January 14, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Barb,So sad to read about your mother. It is so hard to get over a loss of a parent.We lost my mom in Nov.2013 and Larry''s mom in March 2014. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Take care of yourself.

Posted by Donna & Larry Filloon - Phoenix, AZ   January 14, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Prayers for your family, she was a good friend, I will always remember Ringgold Singers, lots of great memories.

Posted by Lou Thornton - Urbandale, IA - friend   January 14, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

We loved her, we miss her! Lowell, Janet, and Mark

Posted by Janet Hickman - Mount Ayr, IA - Friends/Neighbors   January 14, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

My sympathies to Helen''s family. Helen was a Mount Ayr community icon who always had a smile. She will be missed.

Posted by Nancy Wright (Morgan) - Johnston, IA   January 14, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

Helen is a very special friend. She always went our of her way to make me feel Special. I will miss her greatly.

Posted by Charles Weiman - Mount Ayr, IA - Friend   January 13, 2015

Nov 30 0001 12:00 AM

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