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Helen Azilee Hoipkemier, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend and devoted follower of Jesus Christ, passed peacefully into the arms of her Savior surrounded by her family on Saturday, July 6, 2024, at the Raclin House in Mishawaka, Indiana. Helen is survived by her sons, David (Rory), Mark and Gary (Karol), and her seven grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren, all of whom share her deep Christian faith. She was predeceased by her husband, Bill, and son, Kris.

Helen was blessed with 97 wonderful years to live to the fullest. Her zest and energy were evident to all who knew her, and her independence and generosity never waned – she truly seemed timeless with her incredible health, sharp mind and endless generosity to everyone in her life.

Born on April 28, 1927, in Council Hill, Oklahoma to Chessie and Arthur O. Haggard, she grew up with her brother Arthur and several cousins ​​in a loving, strong and hard-working family culture that she greatly appreciated.

Helen met her beloved husband, William Kent Hoipkemier (Bill), at the University of Oklahoma in the Baptist Student Union, where they were both active. They married in 1948 and shared 63 faithful and happy years before Bill’s death in 2012. Bill’s career at Honeywell took them from Oklahoma to Minnesota to Indiana to Illinois, where they made lifelong friendships and gave their sons vivid memories of the wintry north. They were also impacted by the untimely death of their son, Kris, in 1972. When Bill retired, they returned to Oklahoma, where Helen cared for her mother, pursued her lifelong passion for flower gardening, and received regular visits from family and friends. Their retirement was filled with adventures in the RV, including semi-regular trips to Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, family camping in the Great Smoky Mountains, and an amazing road trip through Alaska with Dale and Elderine. She and Bill traveled literally thousands of miles and never lost their love for God’s creation.

Helen’s strong love of music began as a child and continued throughout her life. She graduated with a degree in piano and flute, taught music lessons, and served as a church pianist in two churches. She encouraged her sons and grandchildren in their pursuit of music and enjoyed any musical endeavors they pursued. After moving to South Bend following Bill’s death, she could be found at any concert or choir performance by her talented grandchildren and great-grandchildren and was the quiet promoter of instruments and music lessons, even beyond her family members. Sunday evenings at her house were reserved for pizza and making music, playing her flute and her granddaughter’s flute and a church friend’s autoharp.

Helen was a cheerful, generous and hospitable force in the world. She never complained. Her faith in Jesus Christ enlivened her daily life and gave her a spirit of generosity that never waned and that she extended to everyone she met and befriended. Neighborhood movie nights, coming to every family reunion with a special “sack” for each child, traveling cross-country to celebrate a dear friend’s 99th birthday… she always gave her all. Her pantry was stocked with food that could become meals for a sick neighbor, a needy member of her church, or an upcoming family reunion. She was famous for her nearly inexhaustible supply of dishes and desserts that she stashed in the freezer for just the right moment. (Those lucky enough to try her twice-baked potatoes never forgot them.) Everywhere she lived, Helen discovered a community of knitters with whom she could create sweaters, hats, scarves, blankets, bags, and countless treasures that she brought to life with her gifted hands. This was also reflected in an organized and productive system of card and gift giving to every member of her large extended family, as well as close friends. She was truly never outdone for thoughtfulness.

Helen’s bright smile and strong, bright spirit will be greatly missed. Her artistry in her flower garden, her game table ready for a game of dominoes or Phase 10, her never-empty candy jar for a visiting grandchild, her encouraging and delighted laughter as she welcomed others into her home are just more testaments to a life rooted in God’s rich and abundant love. She was one in a million.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. at Community Baptist Church, 5715 Miami Road, South Bend. Friends may visit with family beginning at 10:00 a.m. at Community Baptist Church, South Bend (live stream Viewing will also be Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Palmer Funeral Home, 3718 S. Michigan, SB. Burial will be in Oklahoma City. Condolences and memories may be left online at

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