Helen's Story

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Helen Hope (Ratcliff) Wittkamper, 78, of Elwood, passed away peacefully on Dec. 1, 2017, surrounded by her family at Community North Hospital in Indianapolis after a brief illness and well-lived life. She was born Sept. 28, 1939, in Clinton County, the daughter of Owen and Vera (Teter) Ratcliff of rural Tipton.
Helen married Maurice G. Wittkamper on Dec. 29, 1957, at the Normanda Christian Church, and they enjoyed 52 years together. She was a Family and Consumer Science teacher for the Elwood Community School Corporation for 15 years. Helen graduated Valedictorian from Prairie Township High School in 1957, completed a private secretarial course at Indiana Business College in 1958, graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1979 from Ball State University and completed a Master of Arts degree in 1984 from Ball State University.
She was baptized to the Christian faith on April 13, 1952, at the Normanda Christian Church in Tipton County. Through the years she attended the Hobbs Christian Church, the Frankton Christian Church and the East Main Street Christian Church in Elwood. Helen was formerly affiliated with Homecraft, Red Corner Home Demonstration Club, the Red Corner Volunteer Fire Department Women's Auxiliary and the Elwood Chapter of the American Association of University Women. She was also a former member of the Elwood Country Club and a member of Indiana Retired Teachers Association. She was a Phi Upsilon Omicron Family/Consumer Science Honorary, Kappa Delta Pi Education Honorary and the Golden Key Club Honorary. Helen was a supporter of the 4-H program, serving as a 4-H Leader with the Frankton School Corporation and two terms on the Madison County 4-H Association.
Helen's hobbies and interests through the years included sewing, tailoring and gourmet cooking. She was an avid reader and enjoyed playing the piano. She took pride in maintaining and caring for the farmstead and managing the family farms in Tipton and Madison counties. She enjoyed restoring and decorating her 100-year-old farm home.
Helen's family includes two children, a daughter, Lisa (John) Rinker of Alexandria, and a son, Myron Wittkamper of Alexandria; four grandchildren, Tiffany Rinker (Russell) Van Natta of Anderson, Lance Rinker of Indianapolis, Krysta Wittkamper Kincade of Elwood and Blake Wittkamper of Alexandria. Krysta blessed her Nana with three great-grandchildren, Brylan Fitzpatrick, Millie Fitzpatrick and Keadryn Kincade. Helen is also survived by one brother, Owen Leon Ratcliff, Jr. (Patricia) of O' Fallon; her special cousin, Kathryn Phares (Gene) Gielow of Michigan City; and special friend, Cynthia (Ray) Noble of Tipton. She is also survived by brother-in-law, Marvin (Jill) Wittkamper; sisters-in-law, Joan Wittkamper, Marilyn Wittkamper and Marla Wittkamper; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents and husband.
A funeral service celebrating Helen's life will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday at Copher-Fesler-May Funeral Home in Elwood with her grandson-in-law, Russ Van Natta, officiating. Private burial will take place in the Elwood City Cemetery. Visitation for family and friends will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Copher-Fesler-May Funeral Home.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Morrisett Center Food Pantry or the Madison County 4-H program through the funeral home. Online condolences may be made at copherfeslermay.com.
Published on December 3, 2017
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