Helen Ruth Donop

helen donop

July 21, 1935 ~ July 15, 2023

Born in: Brownwood, Texas
Resided in: New Braunfels, Texas

Helen Ruth Donop met her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, face-to-face on Saturday, July 15, 2023. She loved Jesus with all her heart and looked forward to the day she would be in His loving arms. We are comforted with this knowledge and are thankful that she has reunited with treasured family and friends who have gone before her.

She was born Helen Ruth Kothmann in Brownwood, Texas, on July 21, 1935, to Elwood Albert and Pearl Hulda Knolle Kothmann. She along with her two sisters, Joyce LaVerne (older) and Pearl Yvonne (younger) were raised on the family ranch in “Fly Gap” near Art, Texas, in Mason County. Helen and her sisters didn’t have a “normal” childhood together. They had to spend a lot of time apart because her sisters were deaf and attended special schools in Oklahoma. For elementary school, Helen attended the Fly Gap one-room schoolhouse until fifth grade. She either walked or rode a horse to school every day and had to occasionally deal with snakes and wild animals along the way. Helen attended middle and high school in Mason, played several sports, excelled at basketball, and graduated from Mason High.

She grew up during the times of the Great Depression and World War II. Everything was rationed, including food, gasoline, tires, paper products, etc. Her father was given a deferral so he could supply beef, chickens, eggs, soybeans, and other staples for the war effort. Helen developed her work ethic from these difficult years. She also developed her sense of adventure, keen stubbornness, and fiery temper, (which she kept in check most of the time.)

Helen’s mother came from a line of medical professionals and from the time she was a little girl she wanted to be a nurse. She loved people and loved helping people at their times of greatest need. She attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, before earning her BS in Nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.

Helen’s sense of adventure took her far away from the Fly Gap ranch. As a young girl she dreamed of being a medical missionary in China. That door closed with the revolution in that country. That didn’t stop her desire to travel, and she worked at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, the YMCA Camp of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado, and Houston Methodist Hospital. She was on her way to California when her soon-to-be husband, Carleton Andrew Donop, proposed. She lived her life to the fullest.

Helen and Carleton married at the Methodist Church in Mason, Texas, on July 9, 1960, and celebrated their 63rd anniversary the Sunday before her passing. She had four pregnancies. In 1961, she had a miscarriage. In 1963, she gave birth to Carl Wayne. In 1966, she had a ruptured tubal pregnancy which almost took her life and should have ended her ability to conceive. However, in 1968, she gave birth to Neal Ray. Helen always considered herself a mother of four although three were taken, and she looked forward to reuniting with her three lost children most of all.

Helen stayed at home to care for her sons until they were old enough to go to school. She worked in a variety of nursing roles, including in a primary care physician’s office, New Braunfels High School and Lamar Elementary as the school nurse, and at the Comal County Health Department. She loved all of her nursing work, but especially loved her work with students and children from infants to teens. She received the NBISD Silver Unicorn Award for her service to the school district.

Helen became devoted Christian early in her life and endeavored to live according to the words and teachings of the Bible. Raised in the United Methodist Church, she and Carleton attended First United Methodist Church in New Braunfels where they helped with children and youth classes and activities until the untimely death of Carl Wayne in 1980.

Searching for answers and a deeper understanding of their faith, Helen and Carleton joined a Bible study at a friend’s home in New Braunfels. That group became part of the founding membership of Tree of Life Church upon the arrival of Pastors Don and Karen Duncan and family. Helen served in the church in many ways, most distinctly as a greeter. Her hugs became well known, and she was sought out by many who just needed a loving motherly hug. She received a lot of healing from her own losses through those hugs and recaptured the joy that had been lost. She participated in several prayer groups, service groups and hospitality groups, and she loved making peanut brittle and hummingbird cakes year-round. She kept cakes in the freezer to give to anyone who came by the house. Mailmen, repairmen, delivery drivers, door-to-door salesmen, lost tourists, and many others received one of her cakes.

In addition to her children, Helen is preceded in death by her sister-in-law Beatrice Donop Schlots, brother-in-law Donald Schlots, nephew Jim Wilson and her parents. Helen is survived by her husband Carleton and her youngest son, Neal. Also, her older sister Joyce LaVerne Adams, younger sister Pearl Yvonne Wallace, nephews Craig Adams, Arvin Wallace (Amanda), Jeff Milley (Jackie), nieces Donna Schlots Milley (Ross), Kathy KAS Schlots Wilson, Bonnie Schlots White (Jack), and Stephanie Stevie Wilson, as well as numerous cousins.

The family would like to thank the nurses and staffs of Eden Home, specifically the Bluebonnet and Willows units, of Hope Hospice, of Advance Home Health, of Caring Senior Services, and of Gruene Senior Living for your exceptional work and care for Helen. Also, we would like to thank all of our neighbors, family and friends who have been so supportive and wonderful to Helen and Carleton. May God richly bless you all and may you all know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Services for Helen Ruth Donop

Friday, July 28, 2023

9:00am – Graveside @ Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery – 1520 Harry Wurzbach Rd, San Antonio, TX 78209 – Shelter #4

1:00pm – Memorial Service @ Tree of Life Church – 5513 IH-35 South, New Braunfels, TX 78132 – (reception/visitation after service)

Streaming will be available for the 1:00pm Memorial Service only. Streaming link:



Graveside: Friday, July 28, 2023 9:00 am

Room: Shelter #4

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
1520 Harry Wurzbach Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78209


Memorial Service: Friday, July 28, 2023 1:00 pm

Tree of Life Church
5513 Interstate 35 Frontage Rd.
New Braunfels, TX 78132


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  1. Helen: a true example of God’s love. She gave genuine care in her words and deeds. Her memorable hugs were given with all her heart and her life was that of practical and spiritual input to anyone she met. I could always count on a hug when I needed it the most.

  2. To the family,

    My condolences in the loss of your wife, mother, sibling, aunt, and friend. May God bring you comfort. I remember Nurse Donop well and will always remember my first year (Sophomore) at NBHS when we had to take an eye test. She was very concerned about my vision, not knowing my history at that time, and sent a note home to my parents, which then had to be signed by my ophthalmologist, In writing, he explained my medical history regarding my eyes, and after she read his report, she was okay and understood. Nurse Donop clearly cared about the students’ health and our well-being. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May the soul of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

  3. Carlton,
    I received the news of Helen’s death and wanted to send my sympathy. You both have been a very special part of my life for many years. I am sorry that I have not kept in touch since our school years. However, memories are not forgotten. I am in Colorado for the summer and will not be in NB for the service. Please know I am thinking of you and May God give you comfort and peace now and always,

  4. Carleton & Neal – I’m so sorry for the loss of Mrs. Donop. I have memories, as a child, of my parents Charles and Carol Cale, and others, meeting at your house, or other places for fun and fellowship. I remember that Mrs. Donop was always very nice, a wonderful person.

    Christopher Cale

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