The Helen and Howard Marr Story

Helen and Howard Marr both grew up on small Minnesota farms in the early 20th century.They both learned the value of hard work and perseverance. Howard's career path led him to become a tool inspector and Helen worked as a maternity ward nurse. Early and throughout their marriage, Howard was challenged with tuberculosis.Yet, his illness did not suppress his love of nature and the outdoors.Helen's strong work ethic and independent nature afforded her to take on more responsibilities over the years as Howard's condition worsened.They had no children.Even with the difficulties that life had thrown at them, they both enjoyed a good life with each other.Both benefited from the treasures of exploring America's National Parks.

Over the years, both reflected very positively on their early life growing up on the farm, what it taught them, and their love of nature. Howard was a devoted hunter, fisherman, and a crack marksman who enjoyed his many outdoor adventures.After Howard's passing, Helen's strong commitment to her husband led her to find a way to honor his love of nature, while also creating a legacy. This avenue was through a bequest benefiting Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

Growing up in Minnesota, both Helen and Howard knew about tallgrass prairie. Tallgrass prairie once reached far into Canada and passed through Minnesota on its way to Mexico. Through a little research at her local library, Helen found the newly established Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas. On December 30, 2005, she contacted National Park Service staff at the preserve. After learning more about the preserve and the work to be accomplished to protect and preserve its resources, she knew that Howard would be pleased for his legacy to become one of enduring support for the prairie at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

After Helen's passing in 2009, her substantial final estate was distributed per her wishes in 2010.She was a very giving woman.The preserve was just one of many organizations that benefited from her generosity.That she found Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve a befitting repose to honor her husband for generations to come is humbling.It brings new meaning to the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916 that states, "To conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." Among Helen's earliest communications with Preserve staff she stated, "The best part of life is traveling through this lovely nation and seeing all the beautiful lands of the National Parks."

Last updated: April 23, 2018

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