Louise BottrellJanuary 20, 1936 ~ June 14, 2017 (age 81)
Obituary for Helen Louise Bottrell
January 20, 1936 – June 14, 2017
Helen Louise Bottrell, 81, of Walker, MN passed away at home on June 14 after a courageous journey with cancer. A memorial service is planned for 11:00 am Saturday, July 8, at Hope Lutheran Church in Walker, with visitation at 10:00 am preceding the service. At a later date, a private inurnment will be conducted at Windsor Cemetery in Windsor, IL.
Louise was born January 20, 1936, in Decatur, IL, to Clark and Helen Hennigh Lowe. She spent her early years on the family farm in Central Illinois. When she was in fifth grade, the family moved to a farm near Windsor, IL where she met the boy (and man) of her dreams—a red-headed farm kid named Jimmy Bottrell—setting in motion a love story of 71 years.
Louise and Jim attended Windsor High School and graduated together in 1954. They were married two years later. Louise was a fast typist, an expert at shorthand and a quick study. It wasn’t hard for her to find secretarial positions while Jim got his degree at University of Illinois. Cindy and Mike joined the family and the foursome spent happy years in Carlinville, IL.
As a wife and mother, Louise did it all. She was an early working mother who also managed to supervise swim lessons; sew everything from doll clothes to prom dresses; refinish furniture; serve as a school volunteer, a church volunteer and a scout leader; take college classes; learn bridge; play tennis; ride horses; host birthday parties, class parties and graduation parties; organize everything; manage the family finances and, of course, cook dinner every night. Louise retired as Executive Administrative Assistant at Prairie Farms Dairy in Carlinville, IL when she and Jim relocated to Walker, MN in 1991.
In Minnesota, Louise continued her passion for learning. She tried cross-country skiing; she took painting classes; she studied ornamental grasses and shoreline ecology to better preserve their home’s lakefront. Then, she settled on writing. An avid reader throughout her life, Louise always enjoyed writing and began to devote more time to it. She was an active member of three writing groups, including one, Bards of a Feather, which met twice a month in her home for many years. Much of her writing features fond family memories, in short stories and poems, with a humorous touch reflective of her personality. A specific focus was preserving memories related to her grandmothers, Maude Hennigh and Helen Lowe, whom she credited as major influences in her life following the death of her mother when Louise was 13. Often, when hearing about a new story or poem, family members would ask with excitement, “Am I in it?” And they smiled when the answer was yes, because they knew Louise would portray them at their best, with love.
Several of her poems and stories have been published in magazines and regional literary journals. One story about an experience she shared with an eighth-grade friend serves as the basis for a one-act play that was co-written and published as “The Glover’s Mange Cure Caper.” To date, the play has been produced in 10 states and Great Britain.
Louise was diagnosed with terminal cancer in August of 2015. She never complained and often expressed gratitude for a wonderful life and for family, friends and caregivers. Shortly after the diagnosis, she sent this message describing the 59th wedding anniversary dinner, “We enjoyed our anniversary dinner. We talked about our years together, how fast they had gone by, laughed over some fun memories when our kids were little, and decided we wouldn't change anything.”
Louise was preceded in death by her parents and stepmother Aimee Doehring Lowe, stepsister Iva Jean Doehring Paris, stepsister Mary Doehring and stepbrother Maurice Doehring.
She is survived by her husband of nearly 61 years, Jim Bottrell; daughter Cindy (Gary Skeesick) of Keller, TX and son Mike of Peoria, AZ. Also surviving are sisters Linda Beavers of The Villages, FL; Virginia (Bill) Standerfer of Mattoon, IL; stepsister Jayne (Jim) Robinson of Lavonia, MO, as well as many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials to Hope Lutheran Church (PO Box 506; Walker, MN 56484); Carlinville Public Schools Foundation (829 West Main St; Carlinville, IL 62626); CHI St. Joseph’s Hospice (600 Pleasant Avenue South; Park Rapids, MN 56470); or any charity of the donor’s choice.