Helen O. Yater, 99, Kokomo, went to be with her Lord at 6:50 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, at Golden Living Center. She was born May 4, 1914, in Howard County, to Guy and Flora (Cook) Pettay. Both parents are deceased. She married Homer R. Yater Sept. 17, 1932. They lived on their Ervin Township farm until Homer’s death in 1977.
Helen was a loving Christian wife, mother and grandmother. Her faith in God was very important to her as she lived to help others and tell them about Jesus. She loved to arrange flowers from her garden to take to the sick at their homes and in their hospital rooms.
She was a member of Morning Star Church, president of the Christian Women’s Club and a Sunday school teacher for more than 50 years. She participated in local symphonic and community choirs, and served as Howard County coordinator for the Billy Graham “Explo ‘72” conference. Helen did short-term mission work in Jamaica and hosted a Christian radio program (WKMO), singing gospel song requests.
Helen graduated from Kokomo High School. In the 1980s she worked for the license bureau and was an active member and leader in various church and community organizations, including the Howard County Toastmistress Club, Ervin Township Community Club, Mental Health Association, the County Home Extension Board and the Farm Bureau Women’s Leaders. She was a leader in the Fine Arts Association, Women’s Department Club, and the Women’s Civic Council.
Helen was a member of the Past County Presidents Club of the Purdue Extension Association. She co-owned and managed a local motel, was a member of the Howard County Choraliers and traveled with the Indiana Home Demonstration Chorus. She was a columnist for the Kokomo Perspective for several years.
Helen loved writing poetry. She included many inspirational poems in her newspaper columns and later published a book of her poems. She received a lifetime achievement award for 46 years of dedicated service to the Howard County Mental Health Association. She also received a certificate of honor from IU Kokomo for the several speeches she presented to area high schools concerning mental health careers. She also was an avid artist.
Helen is survived by her daughter, Bonnie Slaughter (Keith), Kokomo; daughter-in-law, Kay Yater, Monticello; and grandchildren, Mark Slaughter (Dawn), Fishers, David Slaughter (Monica), Carmel, Karen Walker (Keith), Austin, Texas, and Kathy Henke, Monticello. Great-grandchildren include Matthew Slaughter (Allison), Nashville, Tenn.; Rebecca Slaughter, Fishers; Adam and Sara Walker, Austin, Texas; Kaitlin, Luc and Elina Henke, Monticello; and Andrew James Slaughter, Carmel. Other survivors include several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; her son, the Rev. James Yater; brothers, Gene and Wayne Pettay; and sister, Margaret Spane.
The family would like to thank the faithful caregivers she had at Golden Living Center for several years.
Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday at Ellers Mortuary, Webster Street Chapel, 3400 S. Webster St. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Morning Star Church, 2900 E. Markland Ave., with Pastor Greg Reed and the Rev. Mark Slaughter officiating. Entombment will follow at Sunset Memory Garden, Chapel of Peace. You are invited to read Helen’s obituary online at www.ellersmortuary.com, where you may sign the guest book, or share a personal message with the family.