Helen L. Aulgur

November 12, 1928January 15, 2022
Obituary of Helen L. Aulgur
Helen L. Aulgur, 93, of Overland Park, KS, passed away Saturday, January 15th 2022. A celebration of life service will be held at the McGilley & Hoge Chapel, 8024 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, KS at 2:00 pm on Saturday, January 29th. Helen L. Aulgur was born November 12, 1928 in Kansas City, MO. She was the fourth of five children born to Paul and Mary Mills of Kansas City, MO. Helen attended Central High School and graduated in 1945. She worked at the AT&T building in downtown Kansas City until meeting and marrying the love of her life John H. Aulgur on June 19th, 1948. Over the next 12 years John and Helen traveled and lived a Navy life, moving from Kansas City to Memphis, TN, back to Kansas City, then to Toms River, NJ, to London, England, to Overland Park, KS, to Coronado, CA, to San Francisco, CA and finely settling in Overland Park, KS. John and Helen became members of the Overland Park Lutheran Church in 1958. John and Helen raised their three children Steve, Rick and Susan in Overland Park. John retired from the Navy in 1962 and went to work for Savin Business Machines. Helen went to work at the Jones Store at Metcalf South in 1970, working primarily in the Designer Room. Besides working at the Jones Store, Mom was great at sewing and gardening. Mom sewed clothes, pillows, quilts and Christmas stockings. Mom and Dad were great gardeners, Mom with the flowers and Dad with the vegetables. In 1985, they moved into their dream home with a large back yard for all their gardening. In 1987, dad retired from Savin Business Machines and in 1995, mom retired from the Jones Store and now they both could devote all of their energy to what they loved most, their grandchildren. They had eight grandchildren, David Andrew, Alex Leanne, Jessica Hayes, Stefanie Kristen, Alex Diane, Lauren Michele, Avery Lee and John Tyler. The grandchildren simply became their life as mom continued to sew and dad continued to grow vegetables. When dad passed on January 14, 2018 it was devastating to mom, she was alone, even though she didn’t want to be a burden to anyone she continued taking care of the house, sewing, sending birthday cards to great grandchildren and celebrating new great grandchildren. Mom had 10 great grandchildren, Aden, Auggie, XLeigh, Radford, Weston, Nova, Kase, Andie, Audrie and Olivia. A little over a year ago Mom lost her pet Roxy who had become her companion. Make no mistake though, Mom was still very active, mowing her grass on her riding lawn mower, sewing, driving to the store and shopping and visiting her great grandchildren. When Covid hit two years ago it really affected mom, the isolation from her family was tough. We look forward to celebrating her life. Mom was preceded in death by her father, Paul; her mother, Mary; sister, Betty and ex-husband, Walter; sister, Doris and husband George; sister, Jo and husband Dwight; her little brother, Bob, and the love of her life her husband, John. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Aulgur family. Our Tribute to Mom Four years ago we were right here celebrating our dad's life. When we were preparing for that service I suggested to Mom that we could request in lieu of flowers people could donate to a cause. And Mom said no, I want Flowers, Mom loves flowers. And on the day of the service, I went to pick up Mom and as we were driving down antioch we didn’t say much. But just as I turned from antioch on to Santa Fe Mom asked I wonder if anyone will show up? I chuckled a little and said Mom I think there will be a lot of people. So Mom, the flowers are beautiful and you have packed the house! On behalf of my Brother Rick and my Sister Susan and our whole family we want to thank you for taking time out of your day to celebrate our Mom’s life. And what a life it was! I know many of you know Mom through one of us and maybe you had a chance to meet or get to know Mom over the years. However, most of you do not really know Mom so I would like to take a few minutes to tell you a little bit about our Mom. Mom was born on November 12, 1928 in Kansas City, MO; she was the fourth of five children born to Paul and Mary Mills. Mom was the youngest daughter and she had three sisters and one brother. Mom’s dad worked at Borden Dairy and eventually became the manager of the operation. Mom’s mom was busy raising five kids, cooking and sewing. Grandma Mills made all the kids' clothes and always cooked big meals for family and friends. Mom attended Central High School in Kansas City, MO and lettered in Bowling, Field Hockey and Basketball and she told me she was pretty damn good at Tennis too, she was a pretty good athlete. After graduating from Central High School in 1945 Mom went to work at the AT&T building in downtown KC. She would talk fondly about this time of her life, taking the trolley to work downtown and on weekends her and her friend Ila would go to the Pla Mor dance hall at Main and Linwood and dance the night away. With three sisters and a brother the house was always filled with friends and family. But now the war was over and the boys were coming home and Mom’s sister Betty had gotten married in 1942 in Ector, TX to a military boy by the name of Walter Richard Aulgur. And it wasn’t long before Walter invited his brother John to dinner at the Mills house. And then it happened, sparks started to fly across the table and before you knew it Mom was dating John. And when John requested to be transferred to Olathe Naval Air Station so he could spend more time with this hot chick Helen Mills well as they say the rest is history. And on June 19, 1948 Mom married the love of her life John Howard Aulgur. And Dad and Mom headed off on their military life together. First stop was Millington, TN. Mom said they would drive back to Kansas City almost every weekend. And two years later on September 29, 1950 I was born and only a few weeks later Dad was transferred back to Olathe Naval Air Station for a short time. But it wasn’t long before he was transferred again to Lakehurst, NJ and we lived in Toms River, NJ. After two years Dad got orders for London, England. Mom and I followed him but this time we took a cruise on the USS United States. Mom loved England, the beautiful flower gardens and we were there for the crowning of Queen Elizabeth. We lived in big houses and Mom enjoyed our life in England. And on March 15th, 1954 she gave birth to Richard Craig Aulgur. Mom always said Rick was the easiest of her children and such a sweet baby. Now with two sons it was time to head home and Dad got orders to transfer back to Olathe Naval Air Station and by January 1955 we were back in KC and bought a home in this growing township called Overland Park. Our house on 78th street had a big backyard, plenty of room for Dad’s garden and Mom’s Flowers. Life was good, we had lots or Aunts, Uncles and Cousins around, we joined the Overland Park Lutheran Church and I was heading off to grade school at Overland Park Grade School. In January of 1958 Dad received orders to an aircraft carrier the USS Bennington in San Diego, CA and a few months later the Bennington was headed on a WestPac Cruise of the Pacific which are normally 7 months long. So while Dad was gone and Mom was raising two sons she also gave birth on June 30th 1958 to our sister Susan Diane Aulgur and nothing has been normal ever since. Rick and I were elated to have a baby sister, Mom had her girl to dress up and Dad could not wait to get home to meet his little princess! It seemed like things started moving pretty fast now dad came home later that year for awhile but he had to head back to San Diego. Mom had her hands full with a newborn baby and two boys. Grandma Mills moved in with us to try and help and Mom’s sisters and brother helped out as much as they could. Then Dad came home in May of 1959 and said we were moving to Coronado, CA. So in a matter of a couple of weeks we loaded up our 1957 Ford, six cylinder, three speed on the column with no air conditioning, three kids in the back and we headed to California. It was our version of the Beverly Hillbilly’s………you know except for the oil! We rented one unit of a four plex that was just a few houses from the ocean on Coronado Island. Rick and I thought we had died and gone to heaven, it was perfect weather all the time and since Mom was busy with Susan, Rick and I could head down to the ferry and play by the ocean. Mom loved California, we had fruit trees in the backyard, we would take trips on the weekend and even Mom’s sister Doris and our uncle George with our cousins Mike and Linda came out to see us. We toured Dad’s AirCraft Carrier and enjoyed their company in sunny southern California. But a few months later, Dad’s Aircraft Carrier was headed to San Francisco for dry dock and repairs. So we had to leave sunny southern California for San Fran. But this time we had to live on the base in what is called a Quonset Hut. If you don’t know what a Quonset Hut is google it, I can only tell you it isn’t luxury living. Mom did not like living on the Naval Base, did not like the Quonset Hut and did not like the weather in San Fran. But Rick and I thought it was a great adventure and enjoyed ourselves. After a few months Dad received orders back to Olathe Naval Air Station and we were heading home. Not long after getting back to Overland Park we bought a new home at 8701 Conser and Mom finally had her new home and we had a place to build some memories. Mom had her flowers and Dad had his garden and Mom was very happy to have our lives organized. The 60’s and 70’s seem like a blur now and I am sure it was Mom’s most difficult time because we all seemed to be going in different directions. In 1962 Dad retired from the Navy and that just caused more stress because he had to find a new career which took a few years. By 1968 I graduated from high school and was off to college, yeah that didn’t work out too well! In 1972 Rick graduated from high school and moved to Branson, MO and I am in Vietnam and Susan is soon to be in high school. In 1976 Susan graduated from high school and headed off to college. But through it all Mom made sure we had everything we needed or wanted. If Susan wanted a doll, a dress or a car, she got it, if Rick wanted a mini-bike or go-cart he got it, if I wanted stretch jeans or Beatle boots I got them. Mom made sure our beds were made, our clothes were clean and breakfast, lunch and dinner were alway made. In 1970 Mom did something for herself that I think really helped her feel good and that was she went to work at the Jones Store. She first started in the Boys Department but eventually moved to the Designer Room and she loved working there. For the next 25 years Mom not only kept things good at home but also became a fixture in the Designer Room at the Jones Store. And we have seen plenty of Jones Store boxes to prove it! The 80’s brought many changes for Mom her children got married, I moved to Little Rock, AR, Mom and Dad built their dream home and Dad retired in 1987. So lots of changes but having a new home with a big backyard she could expand her flower gardens, have a larger sewing room and have comfortable family gatherings was very exciting for Mom. But nothing was more exciting and life changing to Mom than what happened on February 21, 1985. On that day her first grandchild was born, David Andrew Paterson! This changed everything for Mom, she could not wait to be a Grandma! And before you know it along came Alex LeAnne on Feb. 25, 1987, and then #3 Jessica Hayes on Nov. 3, 1986, and then #4 Stefanie Kristen on May 19th, 1987, and then #5 Alex Diane on Jan. 8th, 1989 so to say the 80’s were pretty great for Mom is an understatement! Now all our family gatherings involved Grandkids and it made everything wonderful for Mom. And if the 80’s were all about change then the 90’s were full of great things and change for Mom. And most importantly was more Grandbabies! On Oct. 23rd, 1990 along came #6 Grandbaby Lauren Michele, then #7 Avery Lee on June 29th, 1996 and finally Mom’s eighth Grandchild John Tyler was born on Dec. 15th 1997! Mom’s total focus now was on her Grandchildren so much so that in 1995 she made the tough decision to leave the job she loved to spend more time with her Grandchildren. So from 1995 on Mom became a full time Grandma and she loved it! The Thanksgiving dinners were all special, the Christmas celebrations were great, all the kids' birthdays were celebrated, being at Grandma’s house was all the rage! Besides being super Grandma Mom continued to help Dad with his health setbacks, but in typical Mom fashion she tried to do it all and not be a burden on any of her kids. What she accomplished in the last 22 years of her life is nothing short of amazing. Caring for Dad during his setbacks was difficult, but never let that get in the way of family outings, Grandkids celebrations, sporting events and holidays. Mom tried to do it all with minimal help from anyone. Yes she continued making quilts, making Christmas stockings, tending to her flower gardens, making sure the house was presentable and making sure we were a family! One of the joys over the last 10 years for Mom was watching and attending her Grandkids weddings! Mom loved weddings and she loved nothing more than watching her Granddaughters walk down the aisle! It was a big deal for her and she wanted it to be so special for her granddaughters! From 2013 to 2018 Mom really became a nurse to Dad and that really took a lot of time and energy out of her. During this time Mom tried to minimize the issues with Dad to not put too much concern on her family but we all saw it and felt it. And when Dad died in January of 2018 Mom was devastated she had lost her rock, her companion and the love of her life. Over the last four years Mom again tried to keep all the family rituals in place while trying to maintain the house, yard and daily chores. She was lonely, losing Dad was very tough and I think what really kept her going was her Great Grandchildren. There is no question that her eight Grandchildren are the LOVE of her life but to see them have beautiful Grandbabies was so thrilling to MOM. My heart breaks because these 10 beautiful kids will not get a chance to spend more time with their Great Grandma! But to Aden, Auggie, Xleigh, Radford, Weston, Nova, Kase, Andie, Audrie and Olivia please know that your Great Grandma will always be looking over you and guiding you. Mom had no intentions of dying, matter of fact she was fully focused on out living her Grandfather who lived to be a little over 100 years old. Mom loved life because she was always focused on the next thing to do whether that was a sewing quilt or Christmas stocking or going to the store or mowing the grass, raking the leaves, weeding her garden, buying a birthday card, helping her grandkids, she just kept busy and enjoyed doing it. But she was tired, and the Covid situation had really stressed her because she became more distant from her family. And the loneliness and lack of connection with her grandkids was difficult for her. Over the last year she had complained about being nauseated with an upset stomach and her Doctor had told her the only way to check on her stomach issue was to put a hose down her throat and Mom wasn’t excited about that but more concerning to her was what they might find. So, she just fought through the discomfort and that ended up becoming her downfall. Mom was a healthy 93 year old woman who could run circles around most of us, she was an opinionated woman who did things her way and she worked hard to make things right for herself and her family. But in mid-November she started coughing and felt weak and it broke her heart that she would not be able to have us all over for Thanksgiving. She had set the table and that's all she could talk about the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. She even tried to sell us on the idea we all could come over and she would stay in her bedroom while we celebrated Thanksgiving. Yeah, that’s my mom! After Thanksgiving she wasn’t getting better and the cough persisted finely after a lot of pressure from all of us, on Sunday, Dec. 12th she drove herself to the emergency room at Shawnee Mission/Advent on 75th street and spent 5 hours in the ER, and after all the tests they told her she had the “Crud” gave her a prescription for an Antibiotic and a cough suppressant and she drove from the hospital to the pharmacy to pick up her prescription and drove home. The next day she was proud to tell me she was fine and she had gone to the ER and got a prescription and she was going to be fine! After seven days of the medicine she wasn’t getting better and I tried to talk her into getting a refill, but no she was convinced she was going to get better. So over the next two weeks she had good days and bad, the cough doesn’t go away and she isn’t getting better. On Monday, Dec. 27th she finally allowed me to take her to the Health Clinic on the 135th, when she came out she told me that they told her she was in Afib and should go to the hospital. So we drove to the Advent Shawnee Mission hospital on 75th, she walked in and checked herself in but there were so many people in there she had to sit outside. There were like a 100 people trying to get into the ER, with Covid I didn’t think it would be healthy for Mom to sit there with all those people so we went home. The next day she agreed to go to the ER at the New Advent Shawnee Mission hospital at 165th and Antioch. We go in around 4:00pm, get checked in and get back to the ER fairly quickly but find out that the lady at the front desk put Mom in the computer as a new patient so we had to go over mom's entire history of health issues with the doctor. Later on they came in and apologized because the lady at the front desk did not believe the Helen Aulgur she saw on the computer who was 93 years old was mom because she didn’t look 93. So, now Mom is on the computer as a new patient and we have to keep referring to the other Helen Aulgur who had 50 years of history at the hospital. After five hours in the ER, and many tests they determined that she has fluid on her lungs and she needs to be treated for Pneumonia. She gets an IV with an antibiotic for pneumonia and we get a prescription and we leave around 9:30pm. The next morning, Tuesday Dec. 28th I get her prescription and she takes it and tries to get some rest. Wednesday, Dec. 29th, she isn’t any better and getting weaker. Thursday Dec. 30 again not much better but is getting around. On Friday, Dec. 31st her Granddaughter Jessica stops by to check on her and she has to help her to the bathroom. At 8:30pm that night I get a call from her and she is panicked, that she is so weak she can’t get out of bed. I got there quickly, calmed her down, called 911 and we got her to the ER at the South Advent Shawnee Mission Hospital by 9:30pm. Remember it is New Years Eve, so short staff, they were pretty busy but after many tests they agreed she needed to be admitted to the hospital. We got her up to a room at 2:00am in the morning and I left her at 4:00am. I got back up there by 9:00am on Saturday and again it is New Year's Day, not much happening other than they are trying to get mom comfortable. They keep running tests, trying to get good IV’s in her arm and keeping her comfortable but the cough is continuing and Mom doesn’t feel well. Sunday, Jan. 2, not much is changing, more tests, no determination of the problem. On Monday, Jan. 3rd they are convinced she has a lot of fluid on her right lung and we talk about how to remove the fluid. We finally decided on a procedure and on Wednesday, Jan. 5th we had the procedure and they removed over 2 ½ cups of fluid from her right lung and we hoped it helps with the cough. Mom is in good spirits, frustrated with the IV’s blowing out and doesn’t understand why she isn’t getting better. We are hopeful and are starting to look around for a Rehab Center to take mom to to recover and get going again. On Thursday, Jan.6th I got to the hospital at about 8:45am and Mom has already had her PT. Rick was already there and I noticed something wasn’t right. I asked the nurse for an evaluation and then a doctor came in and did an evaluation and it was determined that Mom had had a mild stroke. It affected her right eye, right arm and right leg. She also had lost some short term memory and when she spoke her words did not come out the way she intended. The doctors immediately suggested that we transfer to St. Luke's Hospital for surgery to remove the blood clots but St. Lukes could not take her. They sent the info to KU Med and they suggested not to operate, too risky. So now we were faced with recovering from a stroke and pneumonia and didn't have many answers. All the grandchildren came to her bedside over the weekend and she enjoyed seeing all of them. But she was in pain and the newest issue was every time she ate she had painful abdominal cramps. So now we were discussing how to address the abdominal pain and get her stronger while overcoming pneumonia and a stroke. Her right side got worse everyday and she could not move her right arm. The doctors thought that some blood clots had settled in her right arm. On Monday, Jan. 10 Rick, Susan and I sat down with the doctor and discussed our options. There was no clear path to recovery for Mom and they were suggesting Palliative care and hospice. We were stunned, in a matter of days our Mom had gone from a bad cough to hospice care! It was the toughest decision we ever made. The next 5 days we watched the life go out of our Mom. The most vivacious, hard headed, can do person we had ever known was let down by her body. She just could not fight off all the challenges her body gave her. She did not deserve this, she deserved better! We made sure she was comfortable and we did not leave her side and she was asleep the last two days. On Saturday morning Jan. 15th. I had asked the nurse to adjust her and the nurse checked her vitals and they were good. I was holding her hand and told her again as I had many times over the last couple days that she had done all she could here. We so appreciated everything she had done for us. And I told her it was time to go be with dad. I assured her that I would take care of everything and she had nothing to worry about. And just as I finished talking to her Rick walked in and I said hi to him and right behind him the Nurse walked in with a cup of Tea for me. I told Rick to take my place and hold her hand and the Nurse checked her breathing and was concerned because just minutes before it was strong and something had changed. As Rick was holding her hand the nurse checked her heart beat and moments later she took her last breath. Exactly four years and 28 hours after Dad left us Mom went to be with Dad. There are no words to properly express how much Mom meant to not only Me, Rick and Susan but to our whole family. She was our rock, she organized everything and made sure we were all taken care of. She gave and gave and gave and never asked for anything in return. We are all heartbroken but we take solace in the fact she gave us so much and we now know she is with Dad. I imagine she is sitting at the dining room table playing cards with all her sisters and brother and I would love to hear that conversation. I want to thank her neighbors especially Brenda and Bob and Ginny for all you did for Mom. I can only hope that in some small way Mom was able to make a positive difference in your life. I also want to thank her granddaughter Jessica Hayes! Jessica you will never know how much Grandma looked forward to you calling everyday. Even though sometimes those conversations ended up with one of you hanging up on the other, the conversations meant everything to Grandma, and I thank you for that. I will always have many great memories about Mom but one thing I enjoyed is how much Mom loved to laugh. When she laughed it was a full on laugh and it would easily bring her to tears. Mom loved to laugh. I have told Rick and Susan that over the last four years I had spent so much time with Mom that Mom had become more than just Mom to me. And this might sound strange to some of you but Mom had become my friend and my buddy. It was the greatest gift of all. Thanks Mom for Everything!

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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Celebration of Life Service