Helen Maxine (Zeller) Cunningham, 93, passed away April 9, 2021, at Cedarwood Assisted Living in Fairbury, Nebraska, after a brief illness.
Helen was born Sept. 5, 1927 to Vernal (Bateman) and Dannie Zeller in Marion, Kansas.
She attended high school in Marion and graduated in 1945. She continued her education at the Wesley Medical Center School of Nursing in Wichita, Kansas and received her RN degree in 1948.
She began her 45-year career in Kansas and held various nursing positions in Washington State, Utah, and Nebraska. She worked as a critical care nurse at Lincoln General, Saint Elizabeth’s, and Bryan Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska, until she retired in 1992.
In 2006, she moved to Fairbury to be closer to family residing at the ’23 Apartments and then at Cedarwood Assisted Living.
Some milestones Helen achieved during her career were the John Wilson Rodgers Art of Nursing national award given by the Association of Critical Care Nurses in 1989 (she was one of 20,000 eligible critical care nurses).
Helen helped set up critical care units at the various hospitals along with writing standards for critical care units at Lincoln General Hospital.
She served on the committee for the American Heart Association from 1983 to 1987 and co-authored a teaching pamphlet entitled, ‘‘The Beat Goes On,” published in 1978.
She saw many changes in medicine over the years and embraced them all — continuing her education by attending programs at JCH&L and always being responsible for educating others. Nursing was her passion.
Helen had many hobbies after retirement including painting, sewing, and reading. She loved to travel and went on many bus trips around Kansas and Nebraska. She also traveled abroad to Australia and Europe with her brother and his wife.
Helen is survived by her sister-in-law Mary Zeller, nieces, and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Paul (and wife Violet) Zeller, William D. Zeller, Ralph Zeller; and sister Nora (and husband Kenneth) Conyers.
There will be no services. A private family burial will be at a later date.
Gerdes-Meyer Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.