Helen Spasoff Kratzer passed away May 11, 2021 at the age of 91, guided by the love and support of her family.
Helen was born in Milwaukee, WI on October 25, 1929 to Stoiko and Cveta Spasoff, one of six children of Macedonian immigrants.
Helen attended Lincoln High School in Milwaukee and then proudly graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education Helen thrived in her career as an English teacher in Port Washington, where she met her future husband Carl. Helen and Carl were joined in marriage on June 7, 1952. In honor of Helen’s 75th birthday, Carl established a scholarship in her name at the Women’s Fund of the Fox Valley Region to help aspiring teachers.
When fast food franchising came into being, Helen and Carl took a risk and invested in a Burger King location in Appleton. Helen and Carl became successful business partners for the rest of their careers.
Together they raised four children: Kris (Don) Hietpas, Steve (Rhea), Carol (Bruce) Valk, and the late Trina Reynolds.
Helen and Carl enjoyed traveling, and their home was decorated with art collected on their many journeys. A totem pole from Alaska stood next to the fireplace in their home along with other treasures.
Mom loved to bake, especially multiple large batches of holiday cookies, which she refused to let anyone sample until the holidays, by which time they were past their prime. She also loved to garden and looked forward to her annual trip to Black Creek for truckloads of flowers.
Her love for her family was steadfast, although even they did not escape her staunchly defended opinions. Her grandchildren wrote her thank-you notes. She gifted them with workbooks to improve their cursive writing.
Helen loved her dogs very much. Sam, Susie Belle, Brute, Louie, Lucy, Hank, Tiger, and Della were an important part of her life, and they brought her great joy and comfort.
Her children were especially engaged in her daily life as age and health took their toll. While she remained in her home, Steve brought her the morning paper and tuned in Fox News, sharing breakfast and conversation to start her days. Daughters Kris and Carol checked in daily, tending her needs, appointments, and family connections. Steve returned in the evening to watch Wheel of Fortune and settle her in for the night. She played a decisive role in her final health care decisions, and her children were with her to the end.
Helen is survived by her 11 grandchildren and their spouses and 12 great grandchildren. Helen is also survived by her siblings Nada Bevic, Spasen (Diane) Spasoff, and Dolores (Nick) Tseffos.
Helen is preceded in death by her parents, her husband Carl, her daughter Trina, and her sisters Sylvia Spasoff and Mary Beronja.
Private funeral services for Helen will be held at a later date.
Memorials to the Carl and Helen Kratzer Fund at the Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region, 4455 W. Lawrence Street, Appleton, WI are appreciated.