Helen Pitkin Johnson, 94, of Moberly, passed away on Thursday, April 28, 2022, after a brief illness. She was born September 24, 1927, in Anthon, Iowa to Roy and Pauline (McBeath) Pitkin. Her father was the town pharmacist, and her mother was a schoolteacher.
After graduating from Anthon High School in 1945, Helen attended the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where she was very active socially, and a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. She transferred to the University of Iowa in the fall of 1946 to enroll in nursing school.
On August 29, 1947, she married the love of her life, Homer Johnson, of Sioux City, Iowa. Helen and Homer lived in Madison, Wisconsin, and Des Moines, Iowa, before relocating to Moberly in December of 1970, where Homer was the General Manager of Wick Homes. Helen was a full-time mother until 1972, when she bought the Coach Light, a small gift store in downtown Moberly. She was eventually joined by Homer in the business, but Helen was largely responsible for building the business from a small boutique gift store to one of the largest and most successful Hallmark stores in North Central Missouri. In 1995, Helen sold the Coach Light to her daughter and son-in-law Liz and Dale Sosniecki.
Homer and Helen were blessed with 3 children, Al W. Johnson (Susan) of St. Louis, Janet Murray (Bob), and Liz Sosniecki (Dale), both of Moberly. She has 5 grandchildren, Robbie Murray (Carissa) of Nashville, Dane Sosniecki (Nicole) of Kansas City, Ian Sosniecki (Alyssa) of Ft. Worth, Sarah Johnson of Columbia, and Joann Johnson of St. Louis.
Helen was preceded in death by her husband of 74 years, Homer, her parents, and two sisters, Barbara Weirich of Oklahoma City, and Priscilla Gilbert of St. Louis, Missouri. She is survived by all of her children and grandchildren and a brother, Dr. Roy Pitkin of La Quinta, California.
Helen was so proud of her family, including her many nieces and nephews, who lovingly called her Auntie Hon. Besides her family, her other great love was cooking for family and friends, especially baking cookies. It brought her great joy to take cookies to all the kids at church, and anyone who ever received her sugar cookies will never forget them. In her younger years she was an avid collector of antiques, and in her later years spent many happy hours reading. She was a charter member and Past President of Chapter KJ of the PEO sisterhood, and a 50 year plus member. When the Stubbins Children Home was here in Moberly, she served on the Auxiliary, and the Stubbins Cookie Fest was her brainchild, which has now become the Altrusa Cookie Fest. Helen was instrumental in Moberly becoming a Missouri Mainstreet Community and was active for many years in all aspects of the downtown. She served on the MRMC Foundation Board and was a member of the Moberly Area Chamber of Commerce, who in 2008 awarded her the Chamber Hall of Fame Award, recognizing Excellence in Business, one of only 4 women to be so honored.
Helen and Homer loved to travel, taking trips to England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and Spain, as well as nearly all 50 states. Her final trip was last summer to her beloved hometown of Anthon, Iowa.
Donations can be made to either Coates Street Presbyterian Church or Friends of the Moberly Library.
Services honoring and celebrating Helen’s life were held at the Coates Street Presbyterian Church. A private committal prayer and inurnment was held at the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery, Jacksonville.