Helen Schwarze Rodenbeck, 90, passed away peacefully at home on June 22, 2022. Visitation with the family will be from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm on Saturday, June 25 at Memorial Oaks Chapel. Funeral services will be at 3:00 pm on Sunday, June 26 at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church with Dr. Craig Dohse officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
Helen was born April 4, 1932 in the Salem Community to parents Louis Sr. and Selma (Richter) Schwarze. Helen was baptized May 15, 1932 and confirmed April 14, 1946 at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church. She attended the Salem School.
Growing up on the family farm, Helen learned about life and the value of hard work. The third of ten children, she helped care for her younger siblings, and helped garden, raise animals, and pick cotton to sustain the farm. At the age of 16, she went to work at a café in town. It was here she would meet her future husband and the love of her life, Alfred Rodenbeck. Helen and Alfred were married September 29, 1951, at Salem Lutheran Church. They celebrated their 60th anniversary prior to Alfred’s passing in 2011.
Helen and Alfred made their home in Brenham and farmed on the family land. They raised their daughter to have the same work ethic and family values they had been taught growing up. Helen always remained close to her parents and siblings; she always looked forward to family get-togethers, particularly their annual reunion held each October.
Both Helen and Alfred were employed for many years at Brentex Mills. After 32 years, Helen took a new position at Brenham State Supported Living Center where she worked until her retirement.
Helen’s faith was very important in her life. She was a lifelong member of Salem Lutheran Church. She was involved in many activities over the years, most recently she was a member of the Dorcas Circle and the Senior Citizen’s Group. Helen was always willing to bake her famous German Chocolate Cake for church functions. Her family enjoyed her baking as well, looking forward to the white fruit cakes she made at Christmas, and the cookies she baked for birthdays. She always used twice the amount of pecans called for in the recipe, to make use of her pecan harvest she worked so hard on. After retirement, she enjoyed cooking dinners for Kim and Ronnie. Helen also loved gardening and growing flowers. During baseball season, Helen never missed watching her favorite team, the Houston Astros. She also enjoyed playing cards and dominoes. Helen had a sweet and generous nature and she will be missed by all.
Helen is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Kimberly and Ronnie Shupak; grandchildren Melissa Shupak and Luke and Victoria Shupak; great-grandchildren Kyndall Shupak, Wyatt Summers, Henry Shupak, and Sophie Shupak; brothers and sisters-in-law Leroy Schwarze and Lonnie and Joyce Schwarze; sisters Ruth Rodenbeck and Verlin Grimm; sisters-in-law Shirley Schwarze, Maxine Schwarze, and Vondale Schwarze. Also surviving are many dear nieces, nephews, and friends.
Helen was preceded in death by her husband Alfred; her parents; father-in-law and mother-in-law Edd and Esther Rodenbeck; brothers Willie Schwarze, Edward Schwarze, Louis Schwarze Jr., and Calvin Schwarze; sister Bernice Bates; sister-in-law Rita Schwarze; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Edward Rodenbeck, Gilbert Rodenbeck, Wilburn Rodenbeck, Calvin Rodenbeck, Esther Walker, Lillie Smith, Mildred Buerger, Irene Busse, and Kathryn Janner.
Pallbearers will be Luke Shupak, Bradley Schwarze, Lloyd Schwarze, Michael Schwarze, Jeff Schwarze, Charles Schwarze, and Larry Huebner. Honorary pallbearers include Barbara Saunders, Susan Acker, Susie Shupak, John Schwarze, Jon Schwarze, Jacob Schwarze, Chad Schwarze, Blake Schwarze, Alexander Schwarze, Cole Acker, and Dane Acker.
The family wishes to thank the entire care team from Hospice Brazos Valley for their care and compassion. We would like to especially recognize RN Chantel Torrez, who gave incredible care and support to the family. Thank you to caregivers Geneva Kallie, Vanessa Harris, and Donna Gaines.
The family requests that memorials be made to Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery Fund.