“Education and community were important in our household. If we had enough, we gave it to somebody else,” —Karen, daughter of Helen E. Schafer.

Honoring family through the gift of education

Education was a passion Helen E. Schaefer never hesitated to share. For 40 years, Helen poured her love of learning and music into lessons for children at Madison and Hutton grade schools in Spokane. As a first-generation college student, Helen knew the power of educational success firsthand and spent a lifetime ensuring it flourished within her community.

“Being in the classroom was just her thing,” remembers Helen’s daughter Karen.

Helen knew educational opportunities could give students a new lease on life. Faced with the loss of her husband and uncle, Helen responded by giving back to her community through the gift of education.

It was an alphabetical seating chart at John R. Rogers High School that first brought Helen Joy and Arthur “Arthur” Hughes together.

Shortly after the couple married, Arthur was killed while serving as a B-17 pilot in WWII. In memory of her beloved husband, Helen established a scholarship that continues to support students of the school where they first met.

Helen Schaefer (then known as Helen Joy-Hughes) with her husband Art.

When Helen’s uncle Frank Lenhart passed away, she established a scholarship benefitting the community he knew best. As the owner of a local gas station and car dealership in Bonners Ferry, Frank was always looking out for his community, whether loaning money to farmers during hard times or serving as the town’s mayor. To honor his heartfelt contribution to the community, Helen established the Lenhart scholarship for high school students of Bonners Ferry.

Helen’s passion for giving back through education left a lasting impression on her community and her three girls, all of whom

“Education and community were important in our household. If we had enough, we gave it to somebody else,” says Karen.

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