Helen A. Gustafson Ringgenberg died on May 10th 2023 under the compassionate care of Oaknoll health care and Hospice staff. She was 98 years old. Helen’s body was donated to the University of Iowa Deeded Body Program.
A memorial service to celebrate Helen’s life is scheduled for June 16 at 10:00 AM at Saint Andrew Presbyterian Church in Iowa City. Visitation will begin at 9:00 A.M for one hour prior to the service. To share a thought, memory or condolence please visit Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service website @ www.gayandciha.com.
Helen was born in Burlington Iowa on March 23, 1925 to Richard and Alice Gustafson. She grew up among her extended relatives in a close knit Swedish family. She was proud of her Swedish heritage. She graduated from Burlington High School in 1941. Helen began piano lessons at age 8 and played the piano the rest of her life. While she was in high school she was the church organist. Helen went to Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA. She graduated as a music major in 1947.
She met Clayton Ringgenberg at Cornell when he returned from the Navy at the end of World War II. They were married in Burlington, IA on July 24, 1948. They spent their early years in Denver, CO, Boston, MA and Providence, RI. They returned to Iowa in 1952 and lived in Des Moines and Iowa City for the rest of their lives. After raising her family Helen returned to the “working world” and spent several years at City High assisting in the Music Department.
Helen often said that she had a wonderful life. She maintained lifelong friendships from high school and college. She was active in many Iowa City organizations including St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, University Club, PEO Chapter KZ and played bridge with many different groups. When she and Clayton moved to Oaknoll she made many new friends as she became active in groups there. Over the years she shared her piano talents with many groups.
She is survived by her daughter Beth (Judy) of Madison, WI and sons Craig (Joyce) of Prescott, AZ and Scott (Helen) of Duncanville, TX. She is further survived by her grandchildren Adam Ringgenberg (Jessica), Daniel Ringgenberg (Diana) and Lisa Mellus. She had the immense pleasure of also having 3 great grandsons Leo, Max, and Jamie. She is also survived by cousins and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Clayton and sister and brother in law, Edith and John Fulkerson as well as Clayton’s relatives.
The Ringgenberg family would like to thank the staff of Oaknoll for their incredible care and friendship for Helen, Clayton and the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Oaknoll Foundation, 1 Oaknoll Court., Iowa City, IA 52246. Please make a notation for “Scholarships”. Helen felt very strongly that the wonderful staff at Oaknoll be able to further their education and would like any donations to be used for the Oaknoll Scholarship Fund.