Retired Fond du Lac school principal, Helen Stone, died peacefully on Saturday June 29, 2013 at St. Francis Nursing Home in Fond du Lac at the age of 83. She was a loving mother and grandmother, a devoted educator, and an advocate for her community.
Born in 1930 to Ted and Margareta Givans, a farming family in rural Iowa, she attended a one room country school with her sister Evelyn and brother Max. During high school her parents sent Helen, as they had with her older sister, into town every school week to stay in a room rented from a widow. Helen often told stories of how she studied by the light of a 15 watt bulb, the highest wattage bulb the widow allowed in her house! She graduated from Washington Iowa High School in 1948 as the class Valedictorian and began her career working as a receptionist/secretary in a local office. She married Donald Stone, also of Washington, in 1951 and in the next few years had two sons Stephen and Craig.
Helen assisted in the Stone family business until her own family moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota. She continued to work full time and began college at St. Cloud State. The family next moved to Winona, Minnesota where Helen completed her degree in Elementary Education at Winona State University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. She started her teaching career in nearby Trempealeau, Wisconsin, and then moved to the Winona Public Schools, where she also continued taking advanced education coursework.
After the family moved to Appleton, Wisconsin in 1968, Helen began taking graduate courses part-time at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Madison while she continued teaching. In 1975 she received her Master’s degree and was hired by the Fond du Lac School system as an Administrative Trainee. In 1977 she received her first assignment as principal.
Helen served as an elementary school principal in Fond du Lac for 19 years, first at Franklin, then at Waters, and finally at Rosenow. She was devoted to the children who passed through her schools and worked tirelessly with her staff members to bring the children a strong education. She retired in June of 1996. Beyond her career she was an active member of Delta Kappa Gamma, and her church, Pilgrim United Church of Christ. She was an avid reader and gardener.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ted and Margaretta Givans and her brother Max Givans. She is survived by her sister Evelyn (Wayne) Witthoft of Washington, Iowa, son Stephen (Karen) of Madison, son Craig (Kristin) and granddaughters Kate and Libby of St. Paul, Minn.
The family wishes to thank her closest friends Betty C., Lorna, and Betty B., Parish nurse Sue, and the wonderful staff at St. Francis Terrace and St. Frances Home for their devotion and friendship. Memorials should be directed to St. Francis Nursing Home, 33 Everett St, Fond du Lac, Pilgrim UCC, or your local Alzheimer’s Association.
Visitation will be held on Monday, July 8, 2013, at Pilgrim United Church of Christ, 535 Stow Street, Fond du Lac, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a funeral service at 7:00.
Zacherl Funeral Home & Crematory is serving the family. www.zacherlfuneralhome.com