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Helen Cochrane Vedder
December 2, 1931 ~ November 30, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old
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Helen Cochrane Vedder, 91, died peacefully on Thursday, November 30, 2023.
Helen was born on December 2, 1931 to James J. and Julia (O’Brien) Cochrane. She was welcomed into the family by three older brothers. Helen married Byron Vedder on December 16, 1976 at Holy Cross Catholic Church. Byron predeceased Helen on January 14, 2009. She was also preceded in death by her parents, her brothers, and two sisters-in-law, James (Alice), Phil (Mary), and Tom; along with four nephews and two nieces.
She is survived by Byron’s sons Richard (Karen) of Athens, Ohio, and Robert (Susan) of Venice, Florida, and Byron’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Helen is also survived by sister-in-law Joyce Cochrane and many nieces and nephews.
Helen was a lifelong member of Holy Cross Catholic Church. She graduated from Holy Cross School in 1945 and served as a church organist for many years during her teen and young adult life. Helen attended St. Mary’s Junior High School for her freshman year in 1946, prior to attending and graduating from Champaign High School in 1949. Helen attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Commerce and Business Administration for three years.
Helen enjoyed being a career woman for many years, working as an administrative assistant at the Champaign-Urbana Courier for 27 years until its closure in 1979. After a year of retirement she returned to work for the State of Illinois Department of Labor, IDES, retiring after twelve years of service as an adjudicator. Helen gave her time to many causes; volunteering as a reader and recorder for sight-impaired students at the University of Illinois, serving on the former Mercy Hospital Auxiliary Board, and as a Eucharist Outreach Minister at Holy Cross Church. In addition, for over thirty years she was a dedicated volunteer at Mercy, Presence Covenant, Provena Covenant, and OSF Hospital.
In earlier years Helen enjoyed downhill skiing - skiing the slopes at Breckenridge, Vail, French Alps (Courchevel), and Michigan. Helen and Byron enjoyed visiting many foreign countries. A cherished memory from touring in Italy was to have reserved seating at St. Peter’s Basilica for Sunday Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul VI. Helen and Byron spent many of their retirement years as snowbirds in Florida. The family would like to give a heartfelt thank you to all of the staff at the Tuscola Healthcare Center for their warmth and compassion shown to Helen.
The funeral mass will be at 10:00 on Wednesday, December 6 at Holy Cross Catholic Church (405 W. Clark), with the visitation one hour prior to mass (9:00-10:00). Burial will be at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Champaign.