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Helen Esther Dude

July 31, 1936 ~ September 25, 2023 (age 87) 87 Years Old

Helen Dude Obituary

Helen Esther Dude, 87 of Hoyleton, passed away at 4:16 p.m. on Monday, September 25, 2023 at her residence with friends and family by her side.  She was born on July 31, 1936 in Owensville, MO, the daughter of Harold R. and Clara Kleeman Dude while her father was the Methodist Pastor there.  She was baptized as an infant by her uncles Rev. Gilbert Dude and confirmed in Harvard, IL by her father.  They also served churches in Albany and Thomson after her birth and later moved across the Mississippi river to Clinton. IA where Helen’s brother Paul was born.

Rev. Dude was appointed to Armitage Avenue Methodist Church in Chicago in 1940.  While there, Helen attended Mulligan School.  In 1945, the Dudes were sent to Harvard, IL. where Helen continued her education graduating in 1954.  After graduation, Helen enrolled  at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA where she earned her B.A. in Health and Physical Education in the spring of 1958.  She played the cornet from grade school through high school as well as singing in school choruses and at church.  She also took piano lessons and considered music as a very important part of her life.  During her high school years, the Dudes had a family band, with Harold playing baritone; Clara piano; Helen and Paul cornets.

During summers between college years, Helen worked as a lifeguard and waterfront director at Wesley Woods Methodist Church Camp in Lake Geneva, WI.  She took post graduate classed in PE at NIU in DeKalb and SIU Carbondale.  Her first teaching job was PE teacher in Lanark, IL. grades 4-12.  After 3 years, she took a job in Sesser teaching grades 7-12.  After the school merged with Valier, she taught Language Arts as she had received a minor in this field at Cornell.  She then taught PE for 2 years at Sparta High School before moving to Nashville High School in 1966.  She taught PE and Health at NCHS for 25 years retiring in 1991.  While at NCHS, Helen established the girls sports program in 1975 giving them the name “Hornettes”.  She coached girls track for 2 years, softball for 8 years, volleyball for a year and J.V. and Varsity basketball for 3 years.

Helen designed and built her house on the family farm near Hoyleton in 1980 with the help of her father and close friend John Schleifer, plus two other friends.  She moved in 1983 after having lived in the Nashville trailer court for 15 years. She was an active member of Grace United Methodist Church in Nashville where she served on numerous committees and was the chairperson of the Evangelism Committee for several years. She enjoyed camping  and RVtrips to several states.  Besides visiting most of the states, she also crossed over into Mexico and Canada.  Accompanying her were her friends and often godsons.  They shared many experiences together.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents.  Left to mourn her passing is her brother Paul Dude of Aurora, IL, companion Susan King of Hoyleton, godsons; Matthew and Nathaniel Clutts along with several cousins and a host of friends.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, October 2, 2023  at the Grace United Methodist Church in Nashville with Rev. Leanne Noland officiating.  Burial will follow in the North Prairie Cemetery in Hoyleton.  Friends may call from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 1, 2023 at the Styninger Funeral Home in Nashville and one hour prior to services on Monday at the church.  Memorial contributions may be made to the NCHS softball program.  

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October 1, 2023

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Styninger Funeral Home
224 S. Washington Street
Nashville, IL 62263

Funeral Service
October 2, 2023

11:00 AM
Grace United Methodist Church
250 North Mill Street
Nashville, Illinois 62263


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