Helyn Kramer, n√©e Helyn Williams and affectionately called “Helyn from Humboldt,” died Monday, Feb. 13 in Deerfield, Ill. A resident of Glenview, Ill., she was 92, just days from her 93rd birthday.
Helyn was born on Feb. 22, 1919, in Humboldt, the first daughter and sixth child of William Wilson and Minnie Williams, n√©e Ryan. Helyn cherished her Kansas childhood, and with five older brothers and parents running several businesses in Humboldt, Helyn reigned as princess of her family and queen of the shops around the town square — which she explored with curiosity and delight. At age 86, and at the urging of her eldest daughter, Helyn wrote a personal memoir about her childhood in Humboldt. “It was a magical time,” she wrote in “Sentimental Journey, the best of times.”
At age 15 Helyn left the Sunflower State and moved to Evanston, Illi. She attended Evanston High School, worked in Hyde Park for a young family caring for their small child, and while still in her teens, met a handsome aspiring artist. Helyn would marry Harry Kramer in 1938. They would live in Glenview and Skokie and have six children. Four daughters, all of Illinois, survive: Sharron White (Richard) of Glenview, Gay Lingar, Evanston, Andrea Lynn (John), Champaign, and Vicki Berger, Lake Zurich. Two sons, an infant, Harry, and an adult, Gary, also of Glenview, preceded Helyn in death, as did Harry, her husband of nearly 60 years and a veteran of World War II, who served in the U.S. Navy and fought in the Battle of Okinawa.
In addition to her children, Helyn helped nurture seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren — celebrating each of their birthdays with cards, cakes and kisses. Helyn’s strength and grace served as a model for everyone near to her.
Helyn worked for many years at Evanston Hospital’s business office. After her retirement, she moved back to Glenview, and took part in local reading and current events groups. Helyn was an avid reader of books and the New York Times, and she followed national politics like a hawk. Helyn loved going to movies and the theater and she was passionate about music — especially show tunes. Throughout her long life, Helyn remained engaged, proud and always, always elegant.
A tribute to Helyn on her 90th birthday, “Helyn from Humboldt,” can be seen on YouTube at¬† http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_3lCy4HEVg . Helyn’s granddaughter, Nancy White Gray of Barrington Lake, Ill., created and produced the tribute.
A private family memorial is being planned.