Helen Eloise (Cordell) Landis, 99, of Venice, Fla., passed peacefully from her earthly life to life eternal on Monday, June 23, 2014. She was born Dec. 19, 1914, at home on a farm in Littleton, Ill., the daughter of Collen Francis and Ara Gladys (Snowden) Cordell.
Her early childhood years were spent living and helping her family on a farm near Industry, Ill. In later childhood years, the family moved to a farm near Macomb, Ill. She commuted each day to school, and graduated from Macomb High School in 1932.
Feeling very lucky to have a job during the depression, she worked at the J.J. Newberry “Dime” store on the Macomb City Square. She later worked at the Macomb Maid-Rite, just off the town square. It was on this same town square, at the Roof Garden Ballroom, where she met her soon-to-be husband, Robert Clair Landis. They were married on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1935, in Springfield.
Helen and “Bob” made their first home in Adair, Ill., for six years. She worked as a homemaker and mother, he as a teacher at the local high school. In 1941, the family moved to Kaneville, where they made their home for the next 60 years. The young family put down deep roots in this “small town” Midwest community. Helen’s family and home, her church and community, were her life’s work.
She loved being around people. She always tried to be kind and polite, “such a nice lady.” She lived her philosophy of life to “just do what you have to do,” do what is right and remember to count your blessings.
In addition to caring for her family, she was one of several “moms” to watch over many of the neighborhood children as they played throughout the small town. She was very active in the Kaneville United Methodist Church. She taught Sunday School, served on the parsonage committee, was an active participant in LaKelvine Club, and later served as church treasurer for 10 years. She also served many years as a volunteer at Geneva Community Hospital.
Traveling was one of her favorite pastimes. Her most exciting and memorable trip was to England with her husband and their then-pastor and his wife. Two separate family “road trips” in the late 1940s provided great adventure and many fun stories. Family vacation trips to Wisconsin with several other Kaneville families were treasured times and led to a circle of close friends.
In later years, their summer cottage at Knights Templar Club on Duck Lake in Summit Lake, Wis., also offered opportunities for memorable times with both old and new friends. In 1960, Helen and Bob took their first vacation trip to Florida in honor of their 25th wedding anniversary. This special trip led to more Florida vacations. In 1983, they became official Florida snowbirds when they purchased a small home in Japanese Gardens, Venice. There, they created another circle of treasured friends. Even several of their northern friends were nearby neighbors.
In 2001, Florida became their permanent home when they moved into an assisted living facility in Venice. Helen was an avid bridge player and loved to play cards. In later years, reading and solving crossword puzzles occupied much of her time.
Helen is survived by one daughter, Mary (Donald) Capes of Englewood, Fla.; one son, Richard Landis (Paula) of Fairport, N.Y.; five grandchildren, Bradley (Amy) Roggow of Mountain Ranch, Calif., Ann Roggow (Doug) Scott of West Des Moines, Iowa, Laura Capes (Marlon) Terry of Austin, Texas, Rebecca Landis (Scott) Burgeson of Henrietta, N.Y., and Ryan Landis of Ithaca, N.Y.; and seven great-grandchildren, Matthew Roggow, Amanda Roggow, Megann Roggow, Madison Scott, Abigail Scott, Grayson Terry and Oscar Burgeson. She is also survived by one niece, Ann Cordell of Gainesville, Fla.; and one nephew, John Cordell of Iowa City, Iowa.
She is preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 70 years, Robert Clair Landis (2006); two brothers, Howard Cordell and Gerald Cordell (in infancy); her daughter, Marsha Lynn (Tom) Toner (2013); a grandson, Robert Charles Capes (1987); and an extended lifetime of dear friends and neighbors.
Visitation and services will take place on Thursday, July 3, at the Kaneville United Methodist Church. Visitation will take place from 9:30 to 11 a.m., followed by a service at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Kaneville Cemetery, Main Street Road, Kaneville.
A memorial has been established in her name to benefit the Kaneville United Methodist Church. Checks may be made to the church and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119.
Arrangements by Farley Funeral Home, Venice (www.farleyfuneralhome.com), and Conley Funeral Home, Elburn (www.conleycare.com).