Hélène Marie (Durek) Quass | The Gazette


Cedars Rapids

Helen Marie (Durek) Quass, 96, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, passed away on Monday, November 8, 2021, peacefully in her home surrounded by family and sweet dog, Schotzi.

Arrangements by the Cedar Rapids Cremation Society. The memorial service will be

will be Friday, November 19 at 1:30 pm at St. Patrick’s Church in Cedar Rapids by Reverend Greg Bahl. Interment will follow after services at St. John’s Cemetery.

Helen was born to Czech parents, Frank and Mary (Marie) Kosina Durek, in Cedar Rapids on October 8, 1925. As a child, she attended St. Ludmila Czech School and graduated from St. Wenceslaus High School. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she enlisted in the US Army Air Force Corp as a civilian enlisted person. She was assigned to Cedar Rapids as a reed valve inspector. Adventurous as she was, she was later transferred to Southern California, where she lived for three years with her aunt Helen and several friends. She loved group outings and dancing Jitterbug and Tango.

After serving three years, her true love, Don, returned from the US Navy. Helen especially liked her date with Don who was going to the Coconut Grove. Freddie Martin and his band were playing and Don proposed to him that night while the song “Until the End of Time” was playing. It became their song. On June 4, 1946, Helen and Don were married in St. Wenceslaus in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They were lucky to have five children. In the midst of raising their children, Helen participated in many activities like making costumes for her children to participate in Czech plays. She also worked part-time at Sears. Her children have fond memories of their many family vacations, traveling in a station wagon with five children and a folding camper van to lakes and national parks. As Helen’s children grew, she attended Kirkwood College and worked there for several years.

After the death of her mother, she bought her first horse and riding became a passion for her. She loved to match the outfits with her horse, Chaltir and ride in the local parades, especially the parades in the Czech village. Helen was a dedicated Catholic and an active member of St. Patrick’s Parish, where she volunteered as a teller, peeling potatoes for fish fries and as a member of the funeral choir.

She liked to organize family reunions, especially those that involved her grandchildren and played Rummikub. She was very proud of her Czech heritage and loved to sing with the Czech Heritage Singers very much. She enjoyed many other activities including: kayaking, parasailing, deep sea fishing, hot air ballooning, zip lining, gardening, cross country skiing and cycling trails.

His parents, Frank and Marie, accompanied him in death; husband, Donald; and his sister, Marie “Maci” (Durek) Withey.

Helen is survived by her five children, Ron of Livermore, Colorado, Jon (Mary) of Mount Vernon, Iowa, Kevin (Connie) of Burnsville, Minn., Kathy (Dave) Gansen of Hoffman Estates, Ill., Diane (Mike ) McCoy of Red Feathers Lake, Colo., And his close niece, Karen (Jay) Withey-Smith of Red Feathers Lake, Colo .; grandchildren, Heather Quass, Sean (Jodi) Quass, Stephanie (Mike) Mischnick, Julie Quass, Lindsay Quass (Dan Lew), Heidi Gansen (Becky Hinsley), Jessica (Mike) Widener, Tim McCoy (Tan Nguyen-McCoy) and Tiffany (Andrew) Sullivan; and great-grandchildren, Andy, Annie and Katie Mischnick, Jonny and Emily Quass, Skylar Nguyen-McCoy, Everett Quass-Lew, Bennett Hinsley-Gansen, Maddox Widener, and another future great-grandchild Nguyen-McCoy.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Patrick’s Church in Cedar Rapids or the Czech and Slovak National Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids.

The family would like to extend special thanks to Diane Norton (ARNP) and the staff of Mercy Care, her physicians at Mercy Hospital and Mercy Hospice.

Helen has had a wonderful life and will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved her. She will always be remembered for lighting up the room as she entered with her witty spirit and zest for life.

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