Shirley "Sus" Helpenstell

July 28, 1930 ~ December 20, 2021 (age 91)


Shirley “Sus” Helpenstell

Born Shirley “Sus” Haegele, in 1930 on a farm in Iowa, without plumbing or electricity, her life ended on December 20th, 2021, with an electric wine opener and a Roomba. What progress!!

Along the journey she spent time in Independence, Iowa, and Grinnell, Iowa, where she met her husband, Fred Helpenstell. The following ten years were spent in Illinois and Wisconsin. While he was in orthopedic training, she began her long and successful career as a teacher.

During this phase of the journey they had four children---Mark, Tom, Jill and Jeanne.

In 1964, they headed to Idaho for a new adventure and a warmer climate.  Nampa brought lots of new friends and fun.  She enjoyed raising kids, teaching kindergarten in the basement for many years, and then moving on to 6th grade at St. Paul’s. She also taught parenting classes, using her own kids as examples of “no kid is perfect!”  After leaving St. Paul’s, she started an afterschool program. One record she was proud of was that each job paid less than the previous job! However, the mark she left on many, many kids and parents is priceless!

The number of committees and boards she was involved with were numerous: Healthy Nampa, Healthy Youth; Mercy Foundation; Idaho Shakespeare; Idaho Community Foundation; and many more. However, her pride and joy was helping to start the Boys & Girls Club of Nampa!

Every day she went out to lunch with friends, helped kids, and made her community a better place. Her daily motto was “I’m the luckiest person ever!!” She loved her family, her friends and her community. Her community loved her back, honoring her as Citizen of the Year in 2000.

She was the first person to serve on the Idaho Press-Tribune editorial board.

Sus, as people knew her, was legendary for her sense of humor, and she especially loved to introduce friends and acquaintances to her pet badger. 

She is survived by her children: Mark (Tisa), Tom (Heather), Jill (Tom) Faciszewski, Jeanne (Mike) Mack; and 13 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Fred.

 We would like to thank the wonderful staff at Harbor Assisted Living for their compassionate care.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Boys & Girls Club of Nampa or a charity of your choice. An outdoor celebration of life will be held at the Boys & Girls Club of Nampa, 316 Stampede Drive, Nampa from 1 - 5 PM on June 26, 2022.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Shirley "Sus" Helpenstell, please visit our floral store.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Shirley "Sus"

We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Nampa Funeral Home Yraguen Chapel

Join in honoring their life - plant a memorial tree


Celebration of Life
June 26, 2022

1:00 PM
Boys and Girls Club of Nampa
316 Stampede Drive
Nampa, ID 83687

© 2022 Nampa Funeral Home Yraguen Chapel. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility