She was born in rural Mound Prairie, Minn. on March 26, 1922 to William Joseph and Emma Therese (Langen) Von Arx; she attended Bush Valley School in Mound Prairie and later St. Peter’s School in Hokah. She was a life-long member of St. Peter’s Church and served as their organist for over 60 years.
An accomplished pianist, she spent many nights providing entertainment in night clubs throughout downtown La Crosse and the surrounding areas. For several years she was the keyboard player with the Mississippi Muddcats performing locally, in Las Vegas, and in Mexico. Helen’s happiest times were behind the keyboard, flashing that infectious smile. She knew, through music, people could forget their troubles for a while. That ability allowed her to touch the hearts of the lonely in many nursing homes and senior citizen centers by taking residents down memory lane to a happier time in their lives.
In 2000, she decided to return to school to get her GED certificate, fulfilling a desire she quietly carried for years. Upon completion in 2001, she became a competitive Scrabble player, and was often accused of memorizing the Scrabble dictionary; losing wasn’t an option.
Although she brought joy to thousands of people during her long musical career, her greatest accomplishment was embodied in the role as a gentle mother realizing that you never divide your love among the children, you multiply it. She understood the importance of passing on her Christian faith and made family devotions the center of daily life, leading by example.
On Feb. 22, 1945, Helen married William E. Hoskins at St. Peter’s Church in Hokah. He preceded her in death on Aug. 7, 1988. They were blessed with nine children, William (Dorothy), Bonnie (Ralph) Hicks, Michael (Arlene), Mary (Tom) Low, Emily (Peter) Klug, Ann Frances (deceased), Therese (Larry) Sciborski, Mark (Anne), and Rose Marie (Tom) Bielefeldt. She is further survived by 17 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren.
Surviving siblings include two brothers, Francis (Frannie) Von Arx, and William (Teddy) Von Arx, three sisters, Marguerite Sheehan, Dolores Benz and Rita Hayes, and sisters-in-law Rita Von Arx, Betty Von Arx, Liz Von Arx, Mary Zirkel, and Irene Hoskins.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband and infant daughter, brothers Alfred (Evelyn), Otto (Marge) Paul, Walter, George, Jacob (Jean), Joseph (Phyllis), a sister, Bernice (Don) Cavanaugh, and brothers-in-law Gerald Hoskins, Fred Zirkel, Les Sheehan, Donald Benz and William Hayes.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Hokah. Monsignor Bernard McGarty and Rev. Pratap Reedy Salibindla will officiate. Burial will follow in the Mount Calvary Cemetery, Hokah. Visitation will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Schumacher-Kish Funeral Home in La Crescent, and on Thursday from 9:30 until time of services at the church.
The family would like to thank Dr. Tom Frisby, Dr. Jennifer Mattingly, and the staff at Meadow Wood Assisted Living for their loving and compassionate care.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. Peter’s School are preferred. Online guestbook is available at www.schumacher-kish.com.