Helen Eklund, 85, of rural Knoxville, went to heaven peacefully on April 6th, 2017 at 10:10 a.m. in her home, surrounded by her family. Helen was born May 20, 1931 to the late Harold and Gladys Snell Cramer. She was raised in the rural Gilson and Delong area. Her school in Gilson closed after her junior year of high school and she was then bussed to the Knoxville High School where she met the love of her life, Gene Eklund during her senior year. They were married October 18, 1952, where their journey began and lasted for 64 years. She is survived by her husband, Gene Eklund; four children, Roger Eklund of rural Knoxville, Bryan (Stefanie) Eklund of rural Knoxville, Cheryl (Doug) Heady of rural Galesburg and Ronda (Tom) Harrison of Galesburg; thirteen grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, ten step-great grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and her brother Ray (Molly) Cramer of Colorado. Helen was preceded in death by one brother, Edwin Cramer, one sister, Marilyn Pearson and a daughter-in-law, Lori Eklund. Helen worked at the First Galesburg Bank and Trust when she was first married while Gene was in the Navy. She later joined him in Philadelphia and Key West. They then returned to the area where they started farming and raising their four children. Helen was a true farmer`s wife as she enjoyed the outdoor living and working on the farm along with her husband and children. She loved her gardens, chickens, canning, sewing, moving the livestock and delivering meals to the field. She celebrated many anniversaries in the cab of a tractor. Helen loved to spend her time with her family and friends. Helen was a good neighbor, always cooking and baking for others. She served as a Sunday School superintendent at the Messiah Lutheran Church, where they were members for 34 years, Helen was very involved with the church`s activities. The family then moved to Gene`s family homestead in 1993, in rural Knoxville where they attended the Maxey Chapel and later joined the Oaks Community Church. A celebration of life will be held on Friday, April 14th, 2017 with a visitation from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. with the funeral to follow, beginning at 12:00 P.M. with Pastor Marty Briney officiating at the Oaks Community Church, 1868 Congregation Road, Dahinda. Memorials may be made to The Helen Eklund Memorial Scholarship Fund through Knoxville High School or Beacon of Hope Hospice. Hurd-Hendricks Funeral Home and Crematory in Knoxville, Illinois are in charge of arrangements. On-line condolences may be made at http://www.hurd-hendricksfuneralhome.com.
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