MCFARLAND--Corrine Elnora Helmke Niedenthal, aged 87, died of ALS on Sunday October 2, 2016, at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg.
She was born on Aug. 24, 1929, in Madison, the daughter of Chester and Dorothy (Nelson) Helmke. Corrine was joined in life by her twin sister, Crystal Carol Harriet. She was baptized Oct. 20, 1929, and confirmed May 14, 1944, at McFarland Lutheran Church. Corrine grew up in McFarland and graduated from the local school in 10th grade in 1945. She subsequently graduated from Madison East High School with honors in 1947. Corrine attended the University of Wisconsin on scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education degree with honors in June 1951. Art and art education were Corrine's passion. From 1951-1955 Corrine taught art at schools in Lake Mills, Racine, and Madison.
In 1954, she won the Grand Prize in the Wisconsin Salon of Art. On August 13, 1955, Corrine married Morris Jerome Niedenthal at Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison. She joined Morris at the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary in Maywood, Ill., where he was a senior student, and accompanied him the following year to Manchester, England, during Morris' Fulbright studies. From 1957-1960, Corrine and Morris lived in Columbia, MO, where Morris organized the mission congregation of St. Andrew's Lutheran Church. Corrine's son Simon was born on Nov. 22, 1958, and her daughter Paula was born on April 14, 1960. She continued to work as an artist during her years as a wife and mother, creating oil paintings as well as liturgical art that included a large mosaic cross for St. Andrew's. In 1960, Morris accepted a call to teach preaching at the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary in Maywood, Ill. The family moved to New York City from 1963-65, where Morris did his residency as a doctoral student at Union Theological Seminary. Upon returning to Maywood, Corrine took courses to gain her teaching accreditation, and in 1966-67 she taught eighth grade at Garfield School in Maywood. In August of 1967, Corrine and Morris moved to the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago when the Maywood seminary merged with other Lutheran institutions to create the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She became a 5th grade teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where she taught for 26 years. In February of 1968, Corrine and Morris bought a farm in Seven Mile Township, Juneau County Wis. For the next 45 years Corrine split her time between Chicago and Mauston.
The farm was a source of pleasure for both of them for the rest of their lives, and they made many dear friends there. Corrine retired from teaching in 1994 and devoted her time to travel, genealogical research, and learning Norwegian. She was deeply involved with Augustana Lutheran Church in Hyde Park, where she served as congregational council president, sang in the choir, helped produce the newsletter, and launched the Prayer Shawl ministry. In 2005, Corrine and Morris celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Monona Terrace in Madison. Morris died on Feb. 8, 2008. In 2013, Corrine moved into Skaalen Village in her hometown of McFarland. She became deeply involved with the McFarland Historical Society and the McFarland Lutheran Church. Her homecoming gave a special glow to the final years of her life. Corrine is survived by a son, Simon (Tina-Marie Whitman); daughter, Paula (Markus Brauer); and six grandchildren, Camilla and Adrian Niedenthal and Alex, Théo, Sebastian, and Benjamin Brauer.
She is also survived by her sister, Audrey; and a number of nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her mother, Dorothy Helmke; father, Chester Helmke; and two sisters, Crystal Carol Lokken and Delores Fisher. A Memorial service will be held at MCFARLAND LUTHERAN CHURCH, 5529 Marsh Rd, Mcfarland at 11 a.m. on Saturday Nov. 5, 2016 with Reverand Timothy Dean presiding.
A visitation will be held at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday. Donations in Corrine Niedenthal's name are welcome to McFarland Lutheran Church and the McFarland Historical Society.