The Heroines

Helen Stants Alexander

is honored with a Brick from Beth Alexander

About Helen Stants Alexander,
March 14, 1915-
Topeka , Kansas

Some of the recipes we love the most, we got from Helen and her mother. "The reason the gravy is so good," she said, "is that it has a special ingredient….love." "The reason the roses are so beautiful is the same. They were tended with love." Some of the best memories we have, we saved out of time with her. Time in the kitchen, the garden, at family dinners and celebrations. She was a quiet woman, but had great impact on many of us, both within and outside the family. Her love nourished many of us, and it seemed to never be in short supply. This impact has been long-lasting.

Helen Stants Alexander, born March 14, 1915, became a significant person in our lives, and in many others' lives over many years. Unselfish service is probably the phrase that most characterizes her life. For the 35 years that we have known her, she has spent much of her waking time waiting on and helping others, in simple and in elegant ways.

We knew her first as a devoted daughter, wife, and mother, and later as a doting and devoted grandmother. There were early glimpses of her lifetime commitment to service in the care and tending of her sister, who died an early death in her late 40's from cancer. During that time, she not only eased the way for her sister's end of life, but she also cared for her mother, grieving over the premature loss of a child. She similarly served during the illness of her elderly father in the 1970's, caring for him, and for her mother daily. We often think that she invented and then lived the term, "little acts of kindness." Her two sons, Michael and David were raised with the same kind of caring that she gave her parents and sister. Her mother, Hazel Stants, lived to over 100 years, and again was cared for by Helen for the last ten years of her life. She gave a daily potion of loving care, the kind that nourishes both frail and sturdy people. Now, she continues to care for her husband of 60+ years in his 90's as they face the winter months of their lives together. She has served her community and her church as well, for over 60 years. Topeka is a better place for her presence.

The impact on those of us she has served? Here is what some of us say about her, looking back on her influence on us.

"She taught me what it was like to have a real mother, and how to be a real mother. The impact she has had on me is profound and lasting, and gets passed on to the many people I serve today. I always feel warm thinking about her, even when there is a blizzard outside in the world. "—Beth Alexander, former daughter in law

"Grandma had the ability to make every person she was talking to feel like they were the most important person in the world. She did this by genuinely caring about people and by being an incredible listener. What I have learned from her has been invaluable in my classroom as I try to let the students I teach know that I really care about them and who they are."—Steve Alexander, youngest grandson, teacher at North High School, Wichita Kansas.

"When I think about Grandma, the one thing that stands out is that no matter what goal I was pursuing, she always offered unconditional support and encouragement. Never doubted either my ability nor my desire to reach the goal. I think that it is a big part of who she is and that everyone around her is pushed to greater things because of it." ---- Patrick Stants Alexander, oldest grandson., attorney, Chicago, Illinois