DeKALB – Helen O. Ackert, 98, of DeKalb, Ill., passed away, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011 at DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing Center.
Born Nov. 18, 1912, in Beresford, South Dakota, to Andrew D. and Carrie (Aust) Olson, she married Max B. Ackert May 29, 1941, in Chicago, Ill.
Helen grew up on a small farm in South Dakota. She dreamt of becoming a nurse and when she was 16 she left home, with her father’s permission, to become a Deaconess at Lutheran Deaconess Hospital in Chicago. After getting her Bachelor Degree she left the order and went to work for the Visiting Nurses Association. She then went to work at Cook County Hospital where she met the love of her life, Max. Together they entertained at the Missions on Maxwell Street, Max singing and Helen playing the piano (she was self taught). They later were married in the Mission. Helen went back to Lutheran Deaconess Hospital to teach. At this time their first born son, George, was killed in a hit and run auto accident. Devastated, they decided to do something together and started the Chicago Doll Hospital and Curio Shop. This sparked a lifelong interest in antique doll collecting. Max doing the repair and Helen doing the costuming, she took a class at the Art Institute. Max encouraged her to continue her education. Helen got her Master’s Degree at Loyola University and a Certificate of Advanced Studies from University of Chicago. Hard times saw her back at work teaching at University of Illinois at Chicago School of Nursing then as a school nurse for Chicago Board of Education. In 1962 Northern Illinois University hired Helen to teach in the School of Nursing. They did their field work at Du Page County Health Department who hired her away from N.I.U. and made her head of Information and Education. She had five departments under her. In 1982 she retired after her husband Max died, but she wasn’t finished as she started an interest in post card collecting and became a certified Graphoanalist helping in many investigations in the area.
She is survived by her son, Roger Ackert of DeKalb; her sister Florence England of Oxnard, Calf.; several nieces, nephews and step-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Max and their son, George.
The funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 27 at Anderson Funeral Home with the Rev. Thomas Moe of United Methodist Church, Rock Falls officiating. Burial will follow at Ridgewood Cemetery, Des Plaines. Visitation will be held from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26 at Anderson Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to the Helen O. Ackert Memorial Fund in care of Anderson Funeral Home, Ltd., P.O. Box 605, DeKalb, IL 60115. For information visit www.AndersonFuneralHomeLtd.com or call (815) 756-1022.