ForeverMissed

This memorial website was created in memory of our beloved Mama/Mommy/Mum,

Helga Schmidt-Gengenbach departed this earth on October 7, 2016, with family at her side. She was born Helga Hunger in Dortmund, Germany in 1925, and after surviving World War II as a teenager, worked as a bookkeeper for a company that manufactured mining equipment. She married the love of her life, Siegfried Schmidt-Gengenbach in 1951, and together they emigrated to a new life in the United States in 1954, settling in the West Grove/Avondale, PA area. After continuing her bookkeeping work at Star Rose Nurseries and learning English on the job, she left to concentrate on raising a family. She was a devoted wife, loving mother, and tireless caregiver to family members as well as friends. As "the best Mommy in the world"  she strove to raise her daughters with an appreciation of all things beautiful in the world, including lasting holiday traditions that brought endless joy. She loved plants, birds, music, singing, dancing, and above all, laughing. With a German song or saying for every occasion, Helga also provided all who knew her with endless supplies of delicious German food, especially baked goods and Christmas cookies.  In 2012 she moved to Bishop, CA, to spend the rest of her days at Sterling Heights Assisted Living Community, which was very near one of her daughters.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Siegfried, and is survived by her daughter Marianne Schmidt-Gengenbach (Sue Mullins) of Crawfordville, FL, and Jutta Schmidt-Gengenbach (Jeff Holmquist) of Bishop, CA. Her departure leaves a giant hole in our hearts, and we will remember her forever.

As we celebrate Helga's long and amazing life, we invite you to make your memories of her a part of this memorial.  She touched so many lives in so many different ways and in far flung places. Let this memorial be the gathering place for all those who knew and loved her.

Posted by Sue Mullins on June 2, 2017
Dear sweet Mum, you are so deeply missed. But on this day, I celebrate your life-- a long, beautifully and thoroughly lived life that brought so much joy to so many. I miss you every day. You are the best, still and always, your Sue.
Posted by Marianne Gengenbach on June 2, 2017
Mama, you would have been 92 today, and I remember that, on the day after your last birthday, you giggled and said "I am going for 92." Who knew then, as we giggled with you, that you wouldn't be here today--even Sue's nephew Dustin recently said "I just thought she was going to always be there"..... But alas, that could never be. So today, as Jutta and I are reminded once more of our loss and how much we miss you every day, we also celebrate your wonderful life and all of the gifts it brought into our world. Sue gathered flowers from our garden early this morning, and they sit in our kitchen in tribute to your sweet smile, your generous heart, your wonderful singing, and yes, your little giggle.
Posted by Carolyn Bibler on October 22, 2016
Helga's shining legacy resides in her daughters now. Though I didn't know Helga well, I see in Marianne a well-mothered human being. Surely Helga sowed the seeds of compassionate kindness, intelligence and humor that make Marianne the woman she is today. Jutta, I have no doubt that you have the same qualities. Sue's touching tribute speaks for itself about Helga's impact on HER life. Much love and Big Hugs Marianne, Jutta and Sue. I've no doubt Helga is resting in peace.
Posted by Elysia Fischbach on October 19, 2016
Jutta, Jeff, and Family,
I love seeing all these wonderful photos of your mom and family! I never met your mom while in Bishop but sounds like one amazing lady, wife, and husband. And if Jutta learned everything about German desserts from her mom, then I know your mom is one heck of a lady with a dessert skill set that would impress all:) Lots of love and light to you all:) Jim and Elysia
Posted by Brenda Patty on October 16, 2016
Although we briefly visited every other year, we made great use of our short time together. We loved hearing stories about her life in PA and all she had to say about her friends back home.We always looked forward to our talks around the campfires surrounded by the stars.Our fondest memory that we to this day still chuckle about occurred during our annual walk off the Turkey day lunch.Mum was great to keep up as she was in great shape.But as she aged, she had a bit of trouble keeping up. She looked at us and said "whew, I am out of puff".. Our last visit with Mum was while she was recuperating from surgery.We went to visit her.Even there she had a great spirit.Brenda was just diagnosed with breast cancer.Mum looked at her and with a great big smile said, "it's OK, you will be fine"..We knew then that she would be OK because Mum said so. We so loved this great woman!
Posted by Marsha Wood on October 11, 2016
We miss your sweet smile and will cherish your memory for always. Thank you for introducing us to great German cooking thru Marianne, not to mention when I was lucky enough to arrive close to the delivery of your wonderful Christmas cookies ! I can only hope to be as warm and graceful as you !
Posted by Judy Williams on October 11, 2016
Oh lovely one Is she
A daughter
A Sister
A Wife
A friend
A Mother she be
Close as an arrow to each of thee
Then she becomes a Mum to other
Oh how can it be
That the joy she brought may never again be
Oh, but yes, May the joy she brought continue to bring joy to all of ye
May your memories shine bright as you share the stories of she
As you wait until the day when she welcomes each of ye.

A tribute to Helga.
Posted by Sue Mullins on October 11, 2016
Mum is in her field of Edelweiss forever!

Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white
Clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Sue Mullins on June 2, 2017
Dear sweet Mum, you are so deeply missed. But on this day, I celebrate your life-- a long, beautifully and thoroughly lived life that brought so much joy to so many. I miss you every day. You are the best, still and always, your Sue.
Posted by Marianne Gengenbach on June 2, 2017
Mama, you would have been 92 today, and I remember that, on the day after your last birthday, you giggled and said "I am going for 92." Who knew then, as we giggled with you, that you wouldn't be here today--even Sue's nephew Dustin recently said "I just thought she was going to always be there"..... But alas, that could never be. So today, as Jutta and I are reminded once more of our loss and how much we miss you every day, we also celebrate your wonderful life and all of the gifts it brought into our world. Sue gathered flowers from our garden early this morning, and they sit in our kitchen in tribute to your sweet smile, your generous heart, your wonderful singing, and yes, your little giggle.
Posted by Carolyn Bibler on October 22, 2016
Helga's shining legacy resides in her daughters now. Though I didn't know Helga well, I see in Marianne a well-mothered human being. Surely Helga sowed the seeds of compassionate kindness, intelligence and humor that make Marianne the woman she is today. Jutta, I have no doubt that you have the same qualities. Sue's touching tribute speaks for itself about Helga's impact on HER life. Much love and Big Hugs Marianne, Jutta and Sue. I've no doubt Helga is resting in peace.
Recent stories

Mum

Shared by Sue Mullins on October 11, 2016

Mum finally has her “window seat in Heaven,” but I’ve lost my favorite fellow Gemini.  My sweet, beautiful mother-in-law, Helga Hunger Schmidt Gengenbach left this Earthly life just a few hours ago in the arms of Marianne’s sister Jutta, out in California. Words cannot begin to express my pain and grief.  Mum, as I promptly called her to differentiate from my own Mom, was the most optimistic and fun-loving person I ever knew. How she carried on with such lifelong joyfulness in the face of tragic loss – of her brother to WW II, her mother and sister to breast cancer, and her beloved husband Siegfried to premature death – I will never know. But she was literally full of life, as smart as they come, could dissolve instantly into giggles, and lit up my world with her very presence. Mum had a funny rhyming German poem (and usually a song!) for every occasion from the mundane to the extraordinary.  She was a beautiful soprano who loved Bach, Mozart and folk music, and held a world view way beyond her 91 years.  She so graciously opened her world—her German homeland and her Pennsylvania home—to me in her stories and our visits to Avondale.  We spent many hours together admiring Longwood Gardens, and many happy mealtimes talking about her family’s history.  I can still hear the sound, in her delightful singsong German accent, telling me all about her work as a bookkeeper and “the band” of girls she ran with as a young girl in Dortmund before and during the war. I can still feel the warmth of her embrace after a long day in her pretty Avondale garden together, and I will forever see the twinkle in her eye when she walked Marianne down the aisle to marry me in our own garden.  When someone with so powerful a presence and so magical a personality comes into your life, even for just 18 years, it changes you.  I am forever changed by the magic, the grace and the memory of my Mum. She lived from June 2, 1925 to October 7, 2016, and is likely doing the Polka with her favorite dance partner Siegfried once again.  I’ll see you in Heaven, Mum—and save me a window seat!