Helen Jane Cramer Merrick was born April 3, 1899, in Albia, Iowa, and died January 12, 1993, at the age of 94 in Des Moines, Iowa. Helen was the only child of Harry Judson Cramer and Estelle Susan Wright Cramer. She was educated to be a kindergarten teacher and taught for one year in Chicago. On January 3, 1919, Helen married Herbert Ross Merrick, her high school sweetheart.
They lived in Des Moines and raised a family of four children -- two boys and two girls: Herbert Ross Merrick Jr., Bobette Estelle Merrick, Richard John Merrick, and Helenjane Merrick. Life was not easy for a young couple during the Depression years, but Herbert had a job and they learned to economize. Helen quickly learned to sew and cook, to grow a garden, and to can the produce. She loved babies more than anything. That love was felt by all four children as she taught us right from wrong. She walked us to church and Sunday School each Sunday. Honesty and truthfulness were cardinal rules as was expressing a "thank you" to others. She instilled the love of books as she read the children's classics to us each evening. We soon discovered the adventures to be found in books.
Thanks to her encouragement, all four children received advanced degrees. Helen organized the events in her life by writing about them in poetry. Some of her poems are about the war of the 1940s when Herb and Bobbi were in the military, the Marines and the WAVES. Each marriage, new baby and her friendships were chronicled in poems. These have been published in three volumes.
Herbert died in 1955 and Helen lived thirty-eight years beyond, still writing about the family and her friends. At the time of her death, four children and the spouses, thirteen grandchildren, and seventeen great-grandchildren celebrated her beautiful life.