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Helen M. Buschen, 97

Helen Mary (Borntrager) Buschen, 97, died in her sleep at home in Chicago, Ill., May 15, 2006.

She was born June 29, 1908, in Rensselaer, Ind., the fifth of seven children. She was raised on a farm, attended a one-room country school and then St. Augustine Grammar School transported by a horse-drawn buggy during warm weather and on a horse-drawn sleigh in winter. She was the first in her family to graduate from high school.

She learned cooking and sewing as a child and became a seamstress and knitter. Until she was in her 90s she altered dresses and pants for her grandchildren and others.

She moved to Chicago in 1927 and resided at the Rita Club, a residence for young women, while she worked in a photography studio as a secretary. While in Chicago she met Benno Buschen, a young emigrant from Germany. They were married Aug. 10, 1935.

The couple had children: Dr. John Buschen, Prof. Emeritus of medieval history and art history at UW-River Falls; the late Robert Buschen, and Mary Soehn, vice-president of Delaware Bank in Chicago; grandchildren: Cary Ann, Jeffrey and Sherri Buschen and Lisa, Lora and Mark Soehn; and 14 great-grandchildren. Mrs. Buschen also helped raise several foster children.

She was a member and leader of St. Benedict's Parish in Chicago, St. Benedict's Ladies Society and its Sewing Guild for more than 50 years and served as officer of both groups.

Mrs. Buschen was the family historian for hers and her husband's family, and wrote a 300-page manuscript detailing the events of her life.

A funeral mass was celebrated on May 18 at St. Benedict's.

Interment was in Rensselaer.