Helen Smith Luth, 89, of Newman passed away Monday, July 27, 2020, at Pleasant Meadows Senior Living, Chrisman, where she had been residing.
Visitation will be Thursday, July 30th from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Broadlands. Funeral services will be at 2:30 PM with interment following in the church cemetery. Joines Funeral Home (Newman) is assisting the family with arrangements.
Helen was born October 31, 1930, in Indianapolis, IN, the daughter of Lucille (Hammond) and Lowell E. Smith. Helen attended Newman Township schools and graduated from Newman High School. She attended Eastern Illinois University before marrying Virgil L. Luth in 1950. Their marriage was blessed with two daughters, Lana Sanstrom and Krista Freebairn.
Helen was strong in her Christian faith from a young age and was a confirmed member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Broadlands where she taught Sunday School and Bible School when her daughters were young. Helen also attended Women’s Bible Study Fellowship in Champaign for a number of years.
Helen was active in her children’s activities including being a room mother for both daughters and a 4-H leader for her youngest daughter. She loved her grand children dearly attending all of their activities, too, as long as she was able. She was always there to lend a helping hand with everything from medical appointments to attending sporting events to making Halloween costumes and more.
Helen was a member of the Newman American Legion Auxiliary Post 201 in which she served as an officer in multiple capacities including president. At the district level of the American Legion Auxiliary, she held every office of District 19 except Director. As an active member of the Newman Woman’s Club, she worked up through the offices to serve as President. Helen was an avid reader and patron of the Newman Township Library where she also served on the board for a number of years.
She was an Illini, Pro Golf, and St. Louis Cardinals fan as well as an avid golfer, and bridge player. Helen was a member of the Tri City Country Club and a past club champion of the women’s golf organization. She was a member of a local ladies bridge club. As a member of the American Contract Bridge League, she played duplicate bridge at Ginger Creek, Champaign, IL. To further challenge herself, she did daily crossword puzzles and played solitaire up until she was in her early 80s.
One of Helen's memorable experiences was to appear twice on the 1960's national television show "I've Got a Secret" with the two other Helen Luths, all from the Newman area. Both shows can be seen on You Tube.
Helen is survived by her two daughters, Lana (Jim) Sanstrom and Krista (Paul) Freebairn both of Newman; five grandchildren, Jacquelyn Teague of Champaign, Scott Sanstrom of Urbana, Matthew (Cassie) Joines of Champaign, Patrick (Jaye) Sanstrom of Newman, Sarah (Eric) Andresen of Villa Grove, and a step-grandson Christian Freebairn of White Health, IL; ten great-grandchildren; and two sisters, Lowella Biddle of Champaign and Roberta (Luke) Cain of Babson Park, FL.
She was preceded in death by her parents and one infant brother, Lowell Everett Smith.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials in Helen’s name be made to the Immanuel Lutheran Church, Broadlands or the Champaign County Humane Society.
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