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Helen Lemmel (1863-1961)

Helen Howarth Lemmel was born on November 14, 1864, in Wardle, England. She was the daughter of a Wesleyan Methodist pastor, and she came to this country with her family at the age of twelve. Helen lived briefly in Mississippi before settling in Wisconsin. Soon she developed a reputation as a brilliant singer, even studying private voice in Germany for four years. She traveled widely throughout the midwest during the early 1900’s, giving concerts in many churches. Later, Mrs. Lemmel taught voice at the Moody Bible Institute and then at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. In 1961, Helen Lemmel settled in Seattle, Washington, where she remained active with Christian activities, as a member of the Ballard Baptist Church of that city, during the last days of her life.

In addition to being known as a brilliant singer and musician, Mrs. Lemmel was also widely recognized as a woman with remarkable literary ability. She wrote more than 500 hymns and poems. Mrs. Lemmel also authored a very successful book for children entitled, Story of the Bible and composed many children’s musical pieces. She remained active for God in her musical and literary pursuits, until her home-going at the age of ninety-seven.

 

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12 Responses to Helen Lemmel (1863-1961)

  • Alice Kowalski aka Allie Jo Thomas says:

    I love Helen's song, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" I wish I could hear her other songs... I too am a Christian songwriter, and Sunday School Teacher, and sing on my worship team at our church... and have a children's choir...I have many songs too, as I've been writing them for almost 30 years now. Thank you for telling her story... I have many trials too...

  • Rick Reid says:

    bless you

  • Marjorie Edmunds says:

    In one article that I read earlier about Ms Lemmel said her husband divorced her when she lost her eyesight. Is this true? Her song, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" has gotten me through many rough spots in my life. Wish I could know more about her. Thank you,

    • Leona says:

      I am watching a show on RFD TV right now and they said the same thing. Her husband could not handle what she was going through so he left her. Sad.

  • Michael Mulford says:

    https://www.unveiling.org/lily/focussed.html is a link to an article penned by a missionary. Helen Lemmel cited it as the inspiration for "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. Yes, the story about her husband abandoning her when she lost her eyesight is true. I have read it in several places. Knowing her story adds great impetus to this amazing hymn.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thank you for that interesting information of the forerunner to this lovely hymn, which i hope to sing at my local church's Communion Service this evening (with apologies to Helen Lemmel who doubtless would have done a much worthier version of it).

  • Gena Lemmel Kaufman says:

    Yes, I love that hymn, as the words are so true. I actually had the privilege of meeting her in 1954 when she was in a care facility near Seattle shortly before she died, and she was nearly blind. She took my hands in hers and prayed for me and my husband, who was her grandson. My husband was in the Air Force then and had just been relocated to Spokane so we had the opportunity so stop by for a short visit with her. She had such a kind face and a big smile and said she would pray for us. Hope to see her again in Heaven.

    • Mary Voeck says:

      What caused her blindness?

    • Lynn Everest says:

      Thank you for sharing such a precious memory. She was active around the time my grandfather (also moved from England to the states and became a Methodist minister) pastored a church in Ohio and I wonder if she may have visited and sung there at some point. Turn your eyes has always been a special favorite of mine.

  • Mrs P. Stephens says:

    The hymn 'Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus' has always been a favourite of mine. One day, I decided to look up who the hymn writer was, as I saw it was a women! I was so moved by the information about Mrs Kennel, of the fact that she actively served the Lord all her life and even through disappointments such as her husband leaving her when she lost her sight!

  • David Spiro says:

    My grandmother Daisy Link took care of her in her adult care home during her last days on earth. She indeed was remarkable, blind and forgotten...but not even a hint of bitterness or regret. Full of the Spirit.

    • Lynn Everest says:

      Blind and forgotten - that made me tear up a little. But look now how dearly she is remembered by people who never knew her! Praise God.

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Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you— The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month. — Joel 2:23 (NKJV)

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