Helen McGrew, 97

Thursday, August 2, 2007
Helen McGrew.

Helen Adelia Brandt McGrew, 97, of Glenns Ferry, died Tuesday, July 24, 2007, at a local care center.

A memorial service was held at 11 a.m. at the Faith Lutheran Church on Wednesday, Aug. 1. Cremation was under the direction of Rost Funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel.

Helen was born on July 12, 1910, in Elmhurst, Ill., to Berkeley and Grace Brandt. She lived in Elmhurst until she was six years old and then moved with her family to Ojai, Calif., where her parents had an orange ranch. She graduated high school in Ojai and then attended Pomona College, graduating with zoology major. She wanted to become a veterinarian, but the nearest school was too far away.

Helen married her first husband, Bill Simonds, in 1932. She raised her family during the Great Depression and World War II. During the war, she used her rototiller to help people with their victory gardens. She also served on the Decontamination Squad in Oakland, Calif. She returned to Ojai, but when her house was burned down during a wildfire she moved to a small ranch in Riverside County.

She divorced her first husband and married her second husband, William McGrew. She raised Karakul sheep and chinchillas for the fur. In 1959, they purchased a ranch in eastern Oregon. While there, Helen participated in Eastern Star, holding the position of Ruth. Later she converted to the Evangelical Lutheran Faith.

In 1979, Helen and Bill traded ranches for one in Glenns Ferry. She loved the outdoors. Helen was still riding horseback when she was 84 years old. She was active in the Republican Party. She was willing to help people out. She contributed to the Idaho Youth Ranch, CareNet and Lutheran Bible Translators.

Helen is survived by: her son, Paul, and his wife, Ann Simonds, of Oregon; her son, Berkeley, and his wife, Margie Simonds, of California; her daughter, June Green, of Nevada; her daughter, Janet, and her husband, Timothy Loomis of Mountain Home; her son, John McGrew of Glenns Ferry; 23 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband ,William McGrew, two brothers, two sisters and two grandsons.