Helen Marie Stephens, 74, passed away on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, at the Parkview Healthcare Facility in Bolivar.

Helen was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on May 15, 1946, and raised in Goodson. Her parents were Dean and Mary Lou Fischer Gladden. Helen, her sister Louise and brother Wayne spent much of their childhood years helping to run Gladden’s General Store.

She graduated in 1964 as class valedictorian from Halfway High School, where she was also a cheerleader.

She went on to attend Southwest Baptist University and graduated from then-Southwest Missouri State with a bachelor’s degree in teaching and home economics. After graduation, she worked as a home economics teacher at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in Shawnee, Kansas. 

Helen had an adventurous spirit and spent six months traveling with her husband in Europe, where they visited more than 20 countries.

After returning from Europe, she and her husband started Stephens Pharmacy, which became a fixture of the community in Bolivar. Helen later became a federal investigator working for the United States Office of Personnel Management in Missouri and California.

Helen was baptized at the age of 13 at Lindley Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Goodson. She was an active member of the PTA in Bolivar and in later years participated in the Beta Sigma Phi women’s sorority.

Helen is survived by daughters Mary Helen and husband Erik Jordan of Long Beach, California, Carmen and Nancy of Bolivar, and Madison Burns and husband Camden of Bolivar; grandchildren Lyla Jordan, Molly Jordan, Zane Stephens and Colton Burns; sister Louise Williams and brother Wayne and wife Jane Gladden; as well as many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, grandparents, niece Kim Williams, brother-in-law Rex Williams and aunt Ruth Smith.

More than anything, Helen treasured her time raising her daughters and grandchildren. Helen will forever be remembered for her unlimited kindness toward her friends and family. Somehow, she always found the perfect present at Christmastime and birthdays, and was always there for whoever was in need.

Visitation for Helen Stephens will be from 1 to 3 pm. Saturday, June 27, at Butler Funeral Home in Bolivar. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 28, at the funeral home. Graveside services will be held at Shady Grove Cemetery.

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