Helen Ruth (Ingram) Dillard, the daughter of Ray and Agatha (Hilsabeck) Ingram, was born August 3, 1925, in rural Dickens, Iowa. She began her childhood education in a small country school, Logan Center School, near her home. When the school was closed, she continued her education at the Dickens Public School. Helen was raised on the home farm, which was a grain and livestock farm. She drove tractors, did chores, cared for baby pigs and calves, and loved the farm life. She had a strong work ethic and never forgot her farm roots.
Helen was a lifelong member of the Dickens Methodist Church where she met Robert Dillard. Robert (Bob) had returned home from WWII and began attending services at the church. He fell in love with this “pretty little red head” and they were soon engaged. They were married on March 6, 1949, at the same church where he first saw her. Bob and Helen settled on a farm near Dickens, where they lived and raised their five children. Farm life was harsh the first years, yet they worked together to build a solid farm business. Helen was a true partner in the farm operation, this included picking up rock, driving tractors, walking beans, and making sure everyone was well fed. Family and friends would always talk about Helen’s cooking, especially her hamburgers and treats.
Despite long days on the farm and all the farm chores, Helen found time to be active in the community. She was a member of the Dickens American Legion Auxiliary Club (60 + years), Dickens Community Club, taught and helped with Sunday School in Dickens for almost 20 years. Many fun memories were made helping with election days. She often helped with community projects and was a strong supporter of the Dickens Fire and Rescue Department. She was very generous to those that knew her and made everyone feel loved and welcomed.
Helen passed away at Spencer Hospital, Spencer, Iowa, on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at the age of 94. She was preceded in death by her husband, Bob; her parents; sister and brother-in-law, Virginia and Leonard Johnson; brother, Eugene “Ike” Ingram; and great-grandson, Liam Blanchard.
Left to cherish her memory are her children, Robert Dillard, Jr. and wife, Colleen of Dickens, IA, Teresa Dillard of Pacific Junction, IA, Dr. Kurt Dillard and wife, Anne of La Crosse, WI, Richard Dillard and wife, Janet of Dickens, IA, and Rodney Dillard and wife, Trish of Dickens, IA; 16 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; one brother, Lavern (Vern) and wife, Jane of Palm Desert, CA; two sisters-in-law: Miriam Ingram of Columbus, NE and Colleen Dillard of Carbondale, IL; and other relatives and many, many friends.