Helen Ruth Pigg (Jensen)
Helen Ruth Jensen Pigg
Helen Ruth Jensen Pigg was born on a farm west of Atlantic in Cass County, IA on May 3, 1922, the first born daughter of Wolmer and Ruth Jensen.
She attended Grade School at Brighton Township No. 9 about three miles southwest of Marne, IA near their farm home on what became known later as the "Moeller Place". She lived there from age 3 until her sophomore high school year when her family moved to and worked a small farm on the north edge of Marne. During her sophomore and junior years she attended Atlantic High School, riding each day from Marne with her friend, Erma Thompson Lange. During her senior year, she stayed in Atlantic and worked for board and room with several families in order to save her parents the cost of transportation. She graduated from Atlantic High School in 1940. Helen and her husband, Lyle, became infatuated with each other as sophomores in high school and were married June 2, 1941, in Maryville, MO. On June 2, 2012, they celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary.
She received college course credits through Iowa State Teachers College and a Pre-Professional Teachers Certificate and taught country school for a year at Brighton No 2, north of Marne, before she was married in 1941. The following year, she was unable to teach school since, at that time, married women were not allowed to teach in the State of Iowa. The following year, however, when many of the men were at war in Europe and the Pacific, married women were allowed to teach and Helen was able to teach again at her old grade school, Brighton No. 9, three miles southwest of Marne.
After 30 years as a seamstress, working part time for JC Penney's, and raising her family, Helen received college course credit from Drake University and Northwest Missouri State College and renewed her Pre-Professional Teachers Certificate in order to teach small groups and individuals at Jackson Grade School in Atlantic from which she retired in1996 with 25 years of service.
Helen served on many committees and volunteer groups for United Church of Christ in Atlantic including Co-Chairman of the Church Women United, and taught Sunday School for 25 years. In addition, she and Lyle have been faithful in visiting the elderly in care facilities, friends and relatives who were hospitalized, driving the elderly to doctor appointments, and numerous other generous acts. Helen also served as Treasurer of Cass County Democratic Party in Atlantic during the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns and was an organizer of Democratic caucuses in Cass County.
Helen and Lyle have lived in Atlantic their entire lives. She is survived by all of her seven children including Ronald Pigg (Betty Delavan), Nancy Pigg Rhiner (Ralph), Connie Pigg D'Alessandro (John), Roger Pigg (Susan), Rodney Pigg (LaVonna), Robin Pigg (Misty), and Janet Pigg Adams (Brian Sothman). She is also survived by her sister Kathryn Jensen Illian (Rev. Donald) and her brother Edwin Jensen (Sondra).
Her grandchildren are Deborah Rhiner Armstrong and Denette Rhiner Haines, Derrin Pigg and Dana Pigg Fields, Derek D'Alessandro and Jeff D'Alessandro, Christine Pigg and Laura Pigg Denton, Jennifer Pigg and Justin Pigg, Ryan Pigg Jeambey and Ross Pigg Jeambey, Austin Pigg and Katie Pigg, Aaron Adams and Brian Garrison, and her step-grandsons, Brad Kussatz and Hunter Sothman.
Helen's great-grandchildren are Drew and Sean Armstrong, Aiden and Noa Pigg, Mason and Madelyn Fields, Nathanial and Bethany Easton D'Alessandro, Ellyson and Audrey Denton, Madison and McKenna Pigg, Jaxon and Keagan Pigg, and John "Jack" and Nicholas Adams. In addition she has three step-grandchildren including Jordon and Brianna Hall and Jaxson Kussatz. She is also survived by 18 nieces and nephews and their families.
Helen had a strong Christian faith which she instilled in each of her children. She was a prolific writer and spent many hours documenting the family genealogy and many aspects of hers and Lyle’s family history. She enjoyed sharing stories of her upbringing as well as reading and learning new subjects. She became active with computers and often stayed in contact with her many friends and relatives via email.
She was an advocate for education and continuous learning. Helen was recently honored with an annual AHS scholarship in her honor, recognizing her role and involvement in many years of education.
Helen loved to dance to Big Band and Polka music with the love of her life and to quilt with fellow church women. She was the center of her family and was genuinely interested in every person she met and the relationships that developed. She loved life in general.
Memorials may be made to the "Helen R. Pigg Scholarship Fund" at Atlantic High School Foundation, PO Box 517, Atlantic, IA 50022.