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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Helen L. Lauer

Issue Date: July 15, 2020

Helen Louise (Gramling) Lauer, age 92, peacefully entered Eternal Life into the loving arms of Jesus Christ on July 12, 2020.

A devoted wife, loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and sister, Helen is survived by her children, Kathryn (Daniel) Caulkins, Susan (William) Childs, Robert (Kathryn) J. Lauer, Jr., Joseph Lauer and Mary Elisa Lauer; Grandchildren, Rachel (Brian) Wilcox, Joseph (Jessica) Caulkins and David (Nellie) Caulkins; Rebecca, William, and Madeline Childs and Anne (Christopher) Castro, Theresa (Jonathan) Kapke, Martha (Drew) Kinnen, Sarah (Jon-Ross Crow) and Robert J. Lauer III. Great-grandchildren, Ophelia and Kean Wilcox, Charles Caulkins and Raleigh Caulkins, Nicolas and Isabel Castro, Norah and Leo Kapke and Theo Crow. Sisters, Edie (the late James) Bonness (the late Frank) Tomsyck and Betty (Richard) Muegge; sister-in-law, Jane (the late Thomas) Lauer; numerous nieces; nephews and friends.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 61 years, Robert; her parents, Dr. Elmer and Lila Gramling; a sister, Ruth Gramling Weber and a brother, John Gramling and wife, Patricia; sister-in-law, Mary Ellen Lauer Kessenich and husband, Richard, and brother-in-law, Thomas Lauer.

Born June 4, 1928, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Dr. Elmer and Lila Gramling, Helen was the third of five children. She loved her family and often told stories of her idyllic growing up years. Helen attended St. Jude grade school, Pius XI High School where she was newspaper editor and class valedictorian and Marquette University where she enrolled as a journalism major, but graduated with a BA in Education. At Marquette, she was a member of Chi Sigma Chi; president of her Alpha Sigma Nu chapter and president of the Pro and Con, the literary club at Marquette. Following graduation in 1950, she taught 2nd grade at James Whitcomb Riley School for one year. She spoke fondly of the year and enjoyed telling stories about her students. While there, she wrote an original march she entitled "The Riley School March" which she played on the piano for her own family.

She met her husband, Bob, while in college. Their first date was to a Marquette basketball game. They dated exclusively until their marriage in July of 1951. Initially they lived in Wauwatosa, but then settled in Elm Grove where they built two homes and remained until 1968. During her time in Elm Grove, Helen was actively involved with St. Mary's Christian Mothers and was a founding member of the Sunset Playhouse.

In 1968, a move of the family business brought the family to a lovely home in Menominee, Michigan, on the shores of Green Bay. Helen and family lived in Menominee until their return to their original Elm Grove home in 1997. While in Menominee, Helen was involved with the community chorus and PEO as well as school activities of her children, especially high school football and basketball.

She spent weekends entertaining out-of-town family and friends and loved sailing whenever an offer was extended.

Following Bob's death, Helen moved to Harwood Place where she lived in independent living and assisted living. Primary always was her love of faith, family, friends and country. She took great joy in her husband, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and spending time with her sisters and brothers-in-law.

Helen was interested in, and engaged with, everyone she met. She loved movies, music, crossword puzzles, political debates and most especially, her Catholic faith. She will be remembered for many things, but probably most for her quick wit and delightful sense of humor.

The family would like to thank Harwood Place, Lutheran Home and Froedtert Hospital for their loving care of Helen over the years, but especially Lutheran Home for their care and support during the last week of her life.

Because of COVID-19, visitation, the Mass of Christian Burial and graveside services will all be private. There will be a Celebration of Helen's Life for all who would like to join at a future time when it is safe to gather. Becker Ritter Funeral Home of Brookfield is assisting the family with arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to Marquette University, https://give.marquette.edu/give-online, Sunset Playhouse of Elm Grove, 700 Wall St, Elm Grove, WI 53122 , PIUS XI High School, 135 N 76th St, Milwaukee, WI 53213 or a charity of your choice in Helen's name.


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