LINCOLN — Helen Winter Stauffer, 97, of Lincoln, formerly of Kearney, died Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Lincoln.

Memorial services will be at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at Lincoln Memorial Funeral Home. Military honors will be conducted by the American Legion. Burial will be at Fort McPherson National Cemetery near Maxwell at a later date.


Dr. Stauffer is the author of the most comprehensive biography of Nebraska author Mari Sandoz, “Mari Sandoz: Story Catcher of the Plains” (1982) and editor of her correspondences, Letters of Mari Sandoz (1992).

Helen served in the WAVES (Women’s Navy) from 1943 to 1945, teaching aerial gunnery at Alameda Naval Air Base in California.

She married Mike Stauffer of Grand Island on March 30, 1994. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1974 and taught English at Kearney State College until retiring in 1990.

She was active in the Great Plains Chautauqua, Nebraska Humanities Council, Modern Language Association, National Education Association, Western Literature Association, Sandoz Heritage Society, Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Alpha Delta Kappa.

She is survived by son, Robin (Carol) Stauffer of Fremont; daughters, Susan (Jim) Toth of Edwardsburg, Mich., Sally Vifquain of Wahoo and Melody (Rod) Chvatal of Colon; 11 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by both parents; husband, Mike Stauffer; infant son, Karl; daughter-in-law, Carol Hamley Stauffer; and son-in-law, Jim Toth.

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