Helen Louise Brunner

Honored by:Judy and Mick Von Bergen, Janet and Gordon Shoeman, Joan Swanson,and James and Sandra Hannum
Brick location:G:14  map

Helen Louise Hannum, born January 18, 1908, is the second of four children of Edward "Irve" Hannum and Mary Louise Means Hannum of Boone, Iowa. Helen grew up in Boone where her father managed a women's clothing store. Her mother ran a kindergarten school for several years prior to having children, and then became a full-time homemaker.

Helen first attended Grinnell College for one year after high school. She then transferred to Iowa State College and graduated in 1929 with a Bachelor's degree in Home Economics and Education. While at ISC she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority. After college she taught many subjects in junior high and high schools in central Iowa including Sheldahl, Madrid, Lytton, and finally Boone, where she taught for 27 years.

In 1936 she married Victor Brunner. Vic helped manage a local dairy (Peerless Dairy) until it was purchased by a larger company. When she married, Helen was forced to quit teaching as it was the custom of the time to only hire single women. However, she was later entreated to return to teaching and did so. She stayed in teaching for such a long time that she sometimes taught a few generations of the same family. In all her years of teaching Helen never missed a day of work.

During World War II Helen took a break from teaching and worked at an ordinance plant in Ankeny making tracer bullets. She also worked for a short time at the Boone County Court House helping people with their driver’s licenses.  She then returned to teaching again after the war. Helen was a member of PEO (a women's service organization) and a long-time member of the First Methodist church in Boone.

For many years she was a tireless visitor and helper to people in hospitals, nursing homes, and home bound. She also enjoyed the outdoors and went on many fishing trips to Canada with her husband and friends. Although she and her husband didn't have children of their own, they were generous with their time and support of their nieces and nephews and were like second parents to her brother Tom's four children.

Helen died on December 28, 1998.  Her body was cremated and her ashes spread under a lovely tree in Boone, IA.

Updated: 9/18/2011