Helen Suzan Rager (née Bobaj), beloved mother, grandmother, teacher, and friend, passed away at the age of 79 on Saturday, August 26, 2023. Helen was born on April 20, 1944 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to Peter Bobaj and Zuzanna Bobaj (Stefanik). She graduated from Liberty High School in Bethlehem, PA in 1962 and Kutztown University in 1966. She went on to receive her Masters in Education from Marshall University in 1978.
Helen served as a teacher in several schools from 1966 to 2011, but she found her home at Parkway West Middle School where she was a dedicated Social Studies and English teacher for over thirty years. Outside of the classroom, Helen was a familiar face at the St. Louis Post Dispatch Spelling Bee, where she served as a Pronouncer and Judge for over twenty years. Additionally, Helen was also a proud telegram operator at Western Union for ten years, where she built many treasured friendships.
One of Helen’s most endearing traits was her genuine curiosity and her perspective as a life-long student. She would include classroom units outside the scope of Ancient Civilization if she felt it was a necessary endeavor. She incorporated cursive writing, state capitals and current events into regular exercises and challenged her students to always stay informed on world affairs. Not only was she a voracious reader and lover of classical music, but as a first generation American, she was eager to learn more about the world through the personal stories of people around her. This natural inclination towards empathy was heart-warming to those who knew her and helped her make friends anywhere she went. Helen was also a lover of cats and dogs who found great comfort in animals in her final years. Above all, nothing brought Helen more joy than her time spent with her grandson and family.
Helen is survived by her son, Peter J. Rager, her daughter-in-law, Gigi Rager, her grandson, James R. Rager II, her former husband, Gary G. Rager, and Joe S. Hye, whom she regarded as a son. She is also survived by many cousins as well as the countless mentees and students whom she nurtured.
Services: A visitation will be held at Baue Funeral Home in Cave Springs on Friday, September 8 from 4:00 pm to 7:00pm. A funeral service will be held at Hope Lutheran Church (ELCA) at 1975 S. Old Hwy 94, St. Charles, MO 63303 on Saturday, September 9 at 10:00 am with an additional visitation starting at 9:00 am. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association, St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the Humane Society of Missouri.