Wanita (Shimkus) Helmer, 88, of Peru died at 3:05 p.m. Sept. 2, 2013, in her home following an extended illness.
A funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Valentine’s Church, Peru. The Rev. William Gardner will officiate. Burial will be at St. Vincent’s Cemetery,La Salle.
Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Friday in Shields Funeral Chapel, Oglesby, with a wake service at 4 p.m.
She was born Sept. 25, 1924, in Chicago to Charles and Emma (Dietchman) Shimkus. She married M. George Helmer in 1951.
Mrs. Helmer co-owned and operated Shimkus-Helmer Funeral Home in La Salle. She began working as a funeral director for her father, Charles Shimkus, owner of Shimkus Funeral Home. She was one of the first female licensed funeral directors in Illinois and female graduates of Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago and was a 50-year member of Illinois Funeral Directors Association.
She was a member of St. Roch’s Church and Resurrection Church in La Salle and lately of St. Valentine Church, Peru. She was an active member of civic life in La Salle for many years, including serving as a past-president of La Salle Women’s Club, and a member of Slovenian Women’s Union, Ladies VFW Auxiliary of La Salle and St. Roch’s Altar and Rosary Society.
Survivors are one son, Karl (Ingrid) Helmer of Lunenburg, Mass.; one daughter, Kristin (R. Lee) Allen of Springfield; and four grandchildren, Natalie, Harris, Katherine and Angelika.
She was preceded in death by her husband, George, on March 6, 2013.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Valentine Church in Peru, St. Bede Academy in Peru or Hegeler Carus Foundation in La Salle.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.shieldsfuneralchapel.com