Helen C. Estenson, age 101, of Crookston, died Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at RiverView Health in Crookston.
Helen Catherine Charais was born on June 22, 1912 in Kankakee, Indiana, daughter of Lemuel and Evelina (Besse) Charais. Her family moved to the Eldred-Climax (MN) area when Helen was young. She grew up and was educated in the area, graduating from the Gully (MN) High School as Salutatorian in a class of three. She was united in marriage with Ordean P. Estenson on November 3, 1933 at Climax. They farmed at rural Climax until retiring in 1963 and moving into Climax in 1962. Their son, Wayne and his family moved to the farm and lived there briefly until Wayne’s death on December 21, 1963. During the years on the farm, Helen cooked for the family and farm crews. In the early 1960’s, she cooked at the Climax school. Helen and Ordean moved back to the farm in 1967 for a short time, before moving back into Climax. Ordean died on December 13, 1984. Helen moved in to Crookston in 2006 and settled into the Summit Apartments, loved living there and after a few years never wanted to leave the building.
Helen enjoyed rummage sales, the garden club, was a local historian. She sewed wedding dresses, bears and purses, enjoyed quilting. She was honored with a 4-H award at age 90, as the oldest surviving 4-H member. She and Lelia Charais were recognized by the 4-H program and had their photo in the Crookston Times. She served as Grand Marshall of the All School Reunion last July. Helen had also been recognized with the WCCO Good Neighbor Award. She was also very active with church activities and volunteered with the Climax Food Pantry.
Helen is survived by her children: Noel (Ethel) Estenson of Hayward, WI and Kate (Steve) Hedman of Detroit Lakes, MN; daughters-in-law: Carol (Gary) Malm of Grand Forks, ND and Bernie Estenson of Hastings, MN; eleven grandchildren, thirty-one great-grandchildren, and one great great-grandchild; a sister: Lillian Brohaugh in California; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents: Lemuel and Evelina Charais; brother and sister-in-law: Clarence and Lelia Charais; sister: Viola Wahl; her husband: Ordean; sons: Wayne and Lionel; and a grandson: Matt. May God richly bless the memory of Helen C. Estenson.
Helen’s funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM, Sunday, January 5, 2014 at the Sand Hill Lutheran Church, rural Climax, MN, with the Rev. Joy Grainger, officiating. Visitation will be at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home in Crookston from 5 to 7 PM, Saturday, January 4, 2014 with a prayer service at 7 PM, and also visitation for one hour before the service at the church. Interment will be at Sand Hill Lutheran Cemetery, rural Climax. Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home is assisting with the arrangements.
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