Helen Elizabeth (Allen) Kafer
August 11, 1930 -
March 1, 2023
Helen Elizabeth (Allen) Kafer entered eternal glory with her Lord and Savior on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.
Helen Beth was born August 11, 1930, in Waurika, Oklahoma, to Frank and Bessie Painter Allen. She was the oldest child and only daughter of five children. She grew up in the Irving community and attended Irving School, where she graduated in 1948. Growing up, she was an active member of the Irving Baptist Church and local 4-H Club.
She first attended college at Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) and later graduated from Oklahoma College for Women (OCW) in 1951 with a degree in Home Economics. After graduating, she taught Home Ec in Hammon, Oklahoma.
On April 4, 1952, she married her high school sweetheart, Max Thomas Kafer. They lived in Biloxi, Mississippi, and Honolulu, Hawaii, during his time with the Air Force (1952-1960). They settled back in Ryan on the old Weatherly dairy farm, where they raised their four children Mark, Karen, Kathy, and Gary. Helen resided on the farm for almost 60 years, from 1958 to 2017, before moving to Chisholm Trail Assisted Living in Duncan, Oklahoma.
Helen was a woman of faith and of service. She had a career and passion for serving youth and was actively involved in teaching Sunday School, serving at Falls Creek Church Camp, volunteering as a 4-H leader, and working for eight years as the Ryan Head Start Program Director. She also worked alongside Max on the farm, where they raised beef cattle, parakeets, chinchillas, and Bermuda grass. She took the greatest pride in being a homemaker and raising her four children.
She enjoyed participating in water aerobics and fellowship at the Duncan Simmons Center, quilting, and cooking anything Max brought home from his hunting adventures – from pheasant to frogs! She was well-known for being a great cook. Her homemade bread, granola, Ritz chicken, and Wild Rice dressing were among the families’ many favorites. No one entered Helen’s house without being greeted with a glass of her sweet tea.
The original sustainability expert, she knew how to upcycle everything, from clothes to food to plastic containers.
Family came first and was above all else. She loved nothing more than having all her children and relatives gather for church and Sunday meals, reunions, holidays, or cookouts on the sandbank of the Red River. She cared for her husband Max during his years with Parkinson’s. She adored her grandchildren and spent many hours playing games with them, telling them stories, and attending their activities from sports to music to theater. Grandparents Day at their schools was a favorite activity she enjoyed. She was a great encourager and supporter of all they were involved in. She was also known for telling her children and grandchildren to “stand up straight, hold your shoulders back, and smile!
Helen Beth is survived by many loving family members including three of her children: Mark and his wife Mary (Foley), daughter Karen Kafer, and son Gary and wife Beverly (Goss), and son-in-law Mark Malthaner; 10 grandchildren Anne (and husband Taylor) Brown, Zac (and wife Jennifer) Malthaner, James (and wife Lacey) Kafer, Grace (and husband Kelton)Johnson, Rachel Kafer, Tara (and husband Isidro) Ramirez, Hannah (and husband Jon Suttle) Kafer, Sarah (and husband R.C.) Strout, Leah Kafer, Rebekah (and husband Mason)Cresap; eight great-grandchildren: Julieanne and Caroline Brown, Hayden and Colton Kafer, Joy Johnson, Summer Malthaner, Kiera Grant and Nathaniel Ramirez; and her brother Dr. Eddie Allen, sisters-in-law Joan and Deb Allen and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Max and daughter Kathy Malthaner; and brothers Troy, Jimmie, and Larry Allen.
Services will be held at 10:00 AM CST on Monday, March 6 at Ryan Baptist Church with the graveside service to follow. In lieu of flowers (she loved pink!), please consider a donation in Helen Beth’s name to the First Baptist Church (PO Box 159, Ryan, Oklahoma, 73565) or to the Ryan Cemetery Fund (614 Washington, Ryan, OK 73565).
August 11, 1930
March 1, 2023