Helen Faye Loftis Schaefer of Dallas passed away on February 15, 2020, age 86, due to complications of COVID-19.
Helen was preceded in death by her husband John E. Schaefer, her mother and father, Helen and Ivan Loftis, and her brother and sister-in-law Ivan (Sonny) and Barbara Loftis. She is survived by her four daughters and sons-in-law, Linda and David Burzynski, Spring, TX; Susan and Paul Cotter, Houston, TX; Jane Schaefer and Ken Jones, Chicago, IL; and Anne and Scott Luke, Richardson, TX; 10 grandchildren, James and Sarah Burzynski; Kayla, Jenna, Ian and Blake Cotter; Linnea and Iris Jones; Allison and Aaron Luke; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Helen was born on June 5, 1934 in Columbus, Ohio where she and her younger brother were part of a large, fun-loving, extended family. She graduated from North High School in 1952 and received a BSN from the Ohio State University in 1956. After a few years as a labor and delivery nurse at the Ohio State University Hospital, she decided she needed an adventure. She joined the Air Force in 1958 and was stationed at Maxwell and Barksdale Air Force Bases. In Louisiana, the gregarious nurse Lt. Loftis met a quiet soldier from Texas, Cpt. John E. Schaefer, at a Valentine's Day party in 1961. After a long-distance proposal, they married on May 27, 1961 at Carswell Air Force Base. They started their new adventure by moving to Germany. Helen embraced the role of Army wife and was an expert in managing cross-country moves and settling into new communities with John and their four daughters—or as she always called them—her "girls." Helen and John moved 10 times, were separated twice by John's tours in Vietnam, and lived in Germany, Maryland, Arizona, Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, Alabama, and Virginia. In 1978, John retired from the Army and returned to his native Texas where he and Helen lived in Dallas for the rest of their lives.
Helen loved gardening and propagating roomfuls of houseplants. She never missed a book club meeting, puzzle session, or bingo game. She liked to volunteer at her girls' and grandchildren's schools, always sat in the front row at church, and enjoyed listening to opera and Sousa marches.
Above all, Helen was a nurturer. She nurtured her girls, grandchildren, friends, plants, and animals. She gave her girls the great gift of unconditional love and recognized each as an individual. She especially found joy in her many grandchildren and took great pride in them. Helen could always be counted on for lively conversation, a warm hug, a good laugh, and a plentiful meal. She made friends with everyone she met and opened her home to many—whether they had a planned visit or were fleeing a hurricane.
Helen will be inurned with honors alongside John at 2:30PM on Friday, May 7, 2021, at Dallas Ft-Worth National Cemetery .
In lieu of flowers, please give in Helen's memory to the North Texas Food Bank or Army Emergency Relief Fund.
Please celebrate Helen's life by wearing flowered or brightly colored clothes and a face mask.