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In Memoriam: Helen Mitchler

The original obituary listing can be found here.

Helen Lucille Drew Mitchler passed away peacefully on the afternoon of July 4th, 2020. Helen was born on July 29, 1924 in Aurora, IL the daughter of Hazel Long Drew and David Provan Drew. Helen grew up in Aurora, a proud graduate of Bardwell grade school and East Aurora High School, never forgetting the rousing school spirit songs for each school. Along with growing up in Aurora Helen spent considerable time at the Walker Farm in Oswego, IL, where her sister in law Lois Walker Drew grew up, and at the Lyon Farm in Yorkville which in much later years she was so happy to see become part of the Kendall County Historical Society. After graduating in 1942 from East Aurora High Helen worked at the Beacon Newspaper as a proofreader and a year later attended the Copley School for Nursing at Copley Hospital in Aurora, IL where she fulfilled her dream of becoming a Nurse. Helen’s Copley classmates became lifelong dearly treasured friends. She worked many years at both Copley Memorial Hospital and the Dreyer Medical Clinic beginning work there shortly after it first opened. In 1949 Helen met Bob Mitchler, also of Aurora, on a blind date arranged by their mutual friends Laila and Richard Marti. Bob and Helen were married on June 16th, 1950 at Fourth Street United Methodist Church. While on their honeymoon the news of the Korean War broke and 3 months later Bob, who was in the Navy Reserves, left for Korea. After Bob returned home from Korea they bought and moved to their beloved home “Hill Spring Oaks” on Rt 34 in Oswego/Yorkville IL, working together to create a warm and inviting home where they raised their three children, John, Kurt, and Heidi, and lived together until Bob’s death at age 91 in 2012. One of Mom’s favorite stories of buying the 100 year old farmhouse in 1954 was Bob saying it looks fine but where’s the bathroom – and finding out the home still had an outhouse and that they would need to install an indoor bathroom before moving in. Helen had an incredible green thumb and put in huge vegetable and flower gardens every year. She and Bob spent many years raising sheep, where her tender heart often had her bring newborn lambs to the house to warm up if she felt they were born when it was too cold. Helen was an incredible hostess; she absolutely loved hosting huge “picnics” and get-togethers at their home for their friends, neighbors, family, and the numerous organizations which they both belonged to – no group was too large! It was nothing for Helen to spend the evening before a picnic making 100 or more hamburgers for Bob to grill, along with all the numerous side dishes she could make in a snap. Even when they began to cater their picnics Helen would still be busy making anything else she could think of to make each event special. She loved Christmas Day – her “favorite day of the year!” and treasured all the Family Christmases spent in their home. Helen was very involved in numerous clubs spending many years of membership in local organizations. She served as vice chairman of the Emergency Medical Services Council of South Kane and Kendall Counties that led to the implementation of the local 911 emergency system. Helen was passionate about history and was a member of the Illinois State Historical Society and a lifetime member of both the Aurora and Kendall County Historical Societies. Helen always maintained a connection to Rush-Copley Medical Center especially through her membership with Rush-Copley Nursing School Alumni where she chaired a fundraiser, which provided a conference center in the new hospital. She spent many years as a locally active volunteer with the American Cancer Society. She was a lifelong member of the Aurora Fourth Street United Methodist Church. Helen enjoyed her hobby as an active enthusiast of world lighthouses. She and Bob took many lighthouse tours in the states and abroad, and she had an extensive knowledge of almost every lighthouse old and new. She enjoyed the symbol of a lighthouse as a beacon of light for hope and guidance and its connection to how she viewed her Christian faith. Helen was passionate about genealogy and since 1960 was a devoted and very active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, where she held many offices on both the state and national level including serving as Illinois State Regent 1999-2000. She was most active as a member of the Aurora Chapter DAR and in her later years, she enjoyed participating with the Ansel Brainerd Cook Chapter in Libertyville, IL. She was a member of the National Society of New England Women where she served as Chicago Colony President and Colony Historian. She was very involved in local politics and enjoyed her many years of membership in The Kendall County Women’s Republican Club where she served as president; she was also a past Kendall County Chairwoman and served as a 14th Congressional District committeewoman. Helen spent countless years as an election judge and treasured the close friendships she developed over the years with other election judges. Helen had a lifelong special place in her heart for her very dear friends in her Copley Nursing Class and Knitting Club. Helen was a kind, beautiful, gentle, loving woman who made friends everywhere she went. She found gratitude in the simplest things, and appreciated and genuinely cared for everyone she met and knew. Anyone who met Helen even once will always remember her beautiful smile and kind ways. She radiated her Christian faith in her actions and care, in an effortless way that gave joy to all she met. She loved her family beyond measure, and welcomed her children’s friends, their neighbors, and the families of her son and daughter-in-laws into her heart. Most recently, she counted the staff and residents of both Sunrise Senior Living in Gurnee, IL and Victory Lakes Skilled Nursing in Lindenhurst, IL as new friends and a joy in her life. She prayed daily for others and continually lifted thankful prayers to the Lord. One of her favorite mottos was “Attitude is Everything”, a saying which she actively lived by until her final journey home to the Lord. Those who knew her for years or even a short time will always have a special place in their heart for this remarkable and lovely lady. Helen is survived by her adult children John [Kathy Dalsaso] Mitchler of Golden, Co and Oswego, IL, Dr. Kurt [Maria Aragon] Mitchler of Santa Rosa, CA, and Heidi [Daniel] Lyjak of Grayslake, IL. She is also survived by her grandchildren – Trevor Mitchler, Garrick Mitchler, Briana (Peter) Brierton, Haley (Cody) Kellor, Scott, Joseph, Natalie, Olivia, and Matthew Lyjak along with 2 great-grandchildren Vivienne Louise and Royce Daniel. She is also survived by her sister-in-law Cec Mitchler of Aurora, IL along with many nieces and nephews and their spouses and great-nieces and nephews and their spouses; each and everyone held a special and dear place in her heart. Helen was preceded in death by her husband Robert Mitchler, her parents David and Hazel Drew, brothers Stan and Ellsworth Drew, sister in law Lois Drew, brother in law William Mitchler, and daughter in law Maria Aragon Mitchler. Memorial service and final resting place at Spring Lake Cemetery in Aurora, IL will take place at a later date.

Your memorial contribution in Helen’s name will be placed in the Senator Robert W. & Helen Drew Mitchler Scholarship Endowment Fund. 

A community foundation is a donor-driven organization that helps donors custom-design funds that reflect their charitable interests. Through the years, grants from these funds have made a significant impact on our local communities.

Sharon Stredde

President Emeritus

There’s no question in my mind that the scholarship I received opened up possibilities.

Marianne Renner

Past Scholarship Recipient & Current Leadership Coach

…you can always start small, even $25 can make a difference. Remember we can’t take our money with us. Even if it’s just your gift of time. Volunteer and get involved.

Cris Anderson

Cristina & Thomas S. Anderson Endowment Fund | Tom & Cris Anderson Colonial Advisory Fund

We chose the Community Foundation because of its reputation. It’s well known, established and we can trust them to do the job for us.

Dick Schindel

Richard and Susan Schindel Scholarship Funds

As a first-generation college student from a low-income family, I was worried about how I was going to pay for books and supplies. This scholarship will allow me to focus more on my studies instead of worrying about how to afford college. I am working to not only create opportunities for myself but to motivate future generations. Thank you so much for helping me along this journey!

Moises J.

Claude & Alice Allen Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Thank you very much for supporting my college education for these four years. I will never be able to repay you for the opportunity that this scholarship has given to me.

Julia H.

[Renewing Scholarship Recipient] Graduate of Hinkley-Big Rock High School

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