Helen Hembree Dunn went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, at age 85. She died peacefully in her sleep at her son's home in Benicia, California following a long and valiant fight against lung cancer.
Helen was born to Edgar and Willa Hembree on Oct. 14, 1933 in Kansas City. As a child, she excelled in school in Stockton and at Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield. She loved her classes in drama, band (where she played flute) and she loved communications classes the most. In addition, she excelled in speech competitions at the state level in Missouri.
Helen married and gave birth to two children she loved dearly, Debra Dawn Johnson (who passed away in 2013) and Jim Woodall.
In addition to being a dedicated and loving mother, Helen also loved her life as a sales woman and entrepreneur. She was the founder and owner of Deals On Wheels, a several decades-long business that prospered under her guidance. In her roles as a mother and mentor, her son Jim Woodall learned the automotive tire and wheel business from the ground up and became a partner in Deals On Wheels. Upon the sale of the business Helen retired, but never stopped mentoring or giving of herself.
Helen's later years were instrumental in raising her grandson, Edward Riel, and her great-grandson, Larry Riel. Continuing her role as a mother, she helped both of them attend college, an example of her care and generosity.
Helen regularly attended the Eastgate and later Northgate Christian Church in Benicia, CA. She loved the sermons, and she especially loved the uplifting music portions of the church's program. Helen lived and generously shared her faith, and she was an excellent witness for the love of God. Throughout her life, she held unwavering faith in God, which she shared as testimony with everyone who lovingly surrounded her.
Helen joins her parents, Edgar and Willa Hembree, and her daughter, Debra Dawn, in Heaven. Helen is survived by her son, Jim Woodall and his wife Kim, Helen's grandson David Woodall (and great-granddaughter Lily), granddaughter Shellie Cruz (and husband Kevin and greatgrandchildren Patrick and Alannah), granddaughter Jamie Rouse (and husband Chad and greatgrandsons Tanner and Chase). Helen is also survived by her grandson Edward Riel and greatgrandson Larry Riel, grandson Milan Tunheim (and wife Gina, great-grandson Marcus, and great-granddaughter Ricki). In addition, Helen is survived by her brother, Bill Hembree and his wife Judy and their children, Gavin (and wife Kristin and children Zoey and Sam) and Garret and his wife, Jen and their children (Jackson, MacKenna and Ryder). And finally, Helen is survived by beloved cousins and friends who are too numerous to list.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” —John 14:1-3.
In memory, a "Celebration of Life" will be held in Benicia, CA, in lieu of a service at a later date to be announced. Helen's ashes will be laid to rest in the Stockton Cemetery beside her daughter Debra, mother Willa and father Edgar.