Helen DeLaine Roth returned to Heaven July 3, 2016, in Hay Springs, Neb. at the age of 98. Burial at the Merriman, Neb. cemetery.
DeLaine, as most friends knew her was born May 28, 1918, to Charles and Orpha McCray in Merriman, Neb. She was preceded in death by her siblings: Wilma McCray Gray (James); Keith (Florence), Jhett (Margaret), Irlin (Driel), and Blaine (Shirley). She is survived by her devoted husband of 72 years, Don Roth, Gordon, Neb.; daughter and care-giver, Rita Roth Johns, Gordon, Neb; son, David Roth (Susan), Merriman, Neb.; grandchildren: April Roth Knapp, Heather Roth Jones (Josh), Sam Roth, Darci Johns Tienken (Chad), Deidre Johns Haley (Brian), and 10 great-grandchildren.
DeLaine attended school in Merriman; graduated as valedictorian and received a scholarship to study at Chadron State College where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honors in 1942. DeLaine was a member of Gamma Chi Omega and Sigma Tau Delta. During her senior year, she was crowned the 1941 “Gridiron Queen”. As a former homecoming queen, DeLaine proudly led the 2008 CSC homecoming parade as the grand marshal of her beloved college. In 2011, at the age of 93, she was honored during the CSC 100th year half-time celebration as the oldest living Homecoming Queen. After graduating from CSC, she taught second grade in Valentine, Neb. DeLaine was a natural and beloved teacher. Students from her first class told her they looked for their favorite teachers for 49 years and were delighted to be back in contact.
DeLaine married Lt. Donald I. Roth on Dec. 18, 1943, at Fort Sill, Okla. where he was stationed. She accompanied her husband to many military bases across the US, and DeLaine returned to Nebraska when Don was sent overseas during WWII. After Don was honorably discharged, they lived in the Midwest until 1955, and then moved to the West Coast. They enjoyed many friends and adventures in the various placed they lived and traveled. DeLaine continued her education at universities in California and Idaho. She earned special education credentials and became known as a ‘crisis teacher’ in special education.
While living in California, she was a member of the Sonoma County and Merced-Mariposa County Cowbells. She had a passion for ethnic dance, writing, learning, and was a lively storyteller. Her poetry is published in ‘The Haiku Society of America’ and ‘The Best Loved Contemporary Poems’.
After living in California for over 30 years, she and Don returned to Gordon, Neb. upon his retirement. She established membership in Daughters of American Revolution (DAR), based on her extensive research, which led her on numerous travels and to new acquantainces. She was a student of Karate (age 70+) and Tae Kwan Do. She was active in the local community and was a member of the Eastern Stars. DeLaine was passionate about studying people and their history. Always learning and always laughing. DeLaine kept the spirit of childhood alive her entire life.
“Nani, thank you for a lifetime of amazing memories.” “Aunt DeLaine led such a full life...always learning new skills and never quitting even as she got older. She looked for the good in everyone and for the good in every situation.”
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established to support Chadron State College through the Chadron State Foundation, 1000 Main St., Chadron, Neb. 69337-2690.