Helen Elizabeth (nee Gahagan) Kestell passed away peacefully at Libby’s House on Tuesday evening, Feb. 4, 2014, surrounded by her loving family.

Helen was born Nov. 5, 1916, in the town of Mitchell to the late Mamie (Murphy) Gahagan and Harry Gahagan.

On Oct. 21, 1936, Helen married Melroy N. Kestell. Together they farmed and began to raise their family on a farm in the town of Rhine. In 1947 they moved to the town of Lyndon with their growing family and established the legacy of Evergreen View Farms now run by her son, Tom Kestell and his family. Melroy preceded her in death March 15, 1958. Helen and Melroy had 13 children.

The family continued on the family farm. Helen later pursued and enjoyed a long career in real estate with several local firms.

Helen was proud of her academic achievements, especially representing the Town of Greenbush School District in the annual County Contest event winning the Excellence in Scholarship award. Being the oldest daughter of 12 children, Helen played an active role in the raising of her siblings. Helen was proud of her Irish heritage and visited Ireland with her daughter Donna.

Helen was a member of Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church, where she belonged to the Daughters of Isabella.

She was also a past member of Wisconsin Realtors Association and the Sheboygan County Historical Society.

Helen was an avid gardener and always exhibited her garden produce at the Sheboygan County Fair. She won many awards and blue ribbons over the years. She loved to treat her friends with fresh vegetables from her garden. Helen also took great pride in her baking skills honed through years of baking for her large family. Helen’s homemade bread was seldom beaten, and she enjoyed many years of being the person to beat and retired as undefeated champion at the Sheboygan County Fair.

Helen is survived by five sons: John (Paula) Kestell, Kalispell, Mont.; Richard (Bobbi) Kestell, New Holstein, Wis.; Tom (Gin) Kestell, Waldo, Wis.; Dave (Moni) Kestell, Plymouth, Wis., and Steve (Luanne) Kestell, Elkhart Lake, Wis.; and five daughters: Kathy (Ambrose) Schmitz, Sheboygan Falls, Wis.; Karen (Ralph) Hausler, Plymouth; Eileen (Ken) Kiesow, Billings, Mont.; Gini (Dick) Schmitz, La Porte, Ind., and Donna (Mike) Zimmerman, Bradbury, Calif. Also surviving are 32 grandchildren, 60 great-grandchildren and one greatgreat grandson who were a great source of pride and joy for Helen. One sister, Rose Pfiefer Lob, Hot Springs, Ark., and one sister-in-law, Helen Kautzer, Manitowoc, Wis.; two brothers-in-law, Howard Nauth and Stanley Kohlman, both of Milwaukee, Wis.; and many nieces, nephews and other relatives also survive.

In addition to her husband, Helen was preceded in death by a daughter, Diane, and two sons, William and Donald “Mike”; grandchildren, Nicole Kiesow, Clay Kestell and Charlotte Kestell, and a great-granddaughter, Abigail Hausler. Helen was preceded in death by her parents; seven brothers, Henry (June), Leo (Loretta), Oran, Hugh (Arlene), Norbert (Alice), Jerry (Cathy) and Pat (Phyliss) Gahagan; three sisters, Rita (Norman) Platz, Lenore Kohlman and Florence Nauth; one brother-in-law, Lester (Stella) Kestell and one sister-in-law, Evelyn (Ray) Archer.

Mass of Christian Burial was held Saturday morning, Feb. 8, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Plymouth. Father Dennis Van Beek officiated. Burial was in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Cascade.

A memorial fund has been established to benefit the Angel Fund at St. John the Baptist Catholic School.

The Suchon Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Plymouth is serving his family. For online condolences, please visit www.suchonfh.com.

The family would like to thank the volunteers from Meals on Wheels, Pat Piper from Comfort Keepers, St. Vincent DePaul, the Visiting Nurses Association, the staff at Libby’s House and the many others that provided comfort and care.

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