Helen Thompson was born on Aug. 29, 1934 in Morris, Minn. to Hildegard and Arnold Thompson. Helen and her two sisters, Donna and Kay, grew up in Morris and had fond memories of their time there. She was baptized as a young child and was confirmed in June 1948 at First Lutheran Church in Morris. The family would often take day trips to Alexandria to visit her grandma and her aunt Esmond, whom she was named after. In high school, she was involved in many singing groups and was a cheerleader, editor of the newspaper, and a member of the Honor Society. She graduated with honors from Morris High School in 1952 and was the class valedictorian. She attended St. Olaf University and was a proud member of the St. Olaf Choir. During her time at St. Olaf she traveled to Scandinavia with the choir. She graduated in 1956 with a major in music education and a minor in English. She began working as a church secretary for Dr. Elmer Hjortland and her work with him led to her relocation to California. She eventually moved to Visalia and became an elementary school teacher at Goshen Elementary School where she taught first and third grades until her retirement.
Helen was very involved in the Visalia community. Helen was a faith-filled woman who was active as a member of Christ Lutheran Church. She was a member of the Visalia branch of AAUW for almost 50 years and was involved with P.E.O. since 1966. Always an aficionado of music, she was actively involved with the Tulare County Symphony for over 30 years. She was involved in the Assistance League for over 10 years and served as a docent at the Tulare City Historical Museum. She loved playing Bunko and Bridge. In her spare time, Helen loved reading, watching football, and spending time with friends. She always had a soft spot in her heart for all things Norwegian and Swedish.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Arnold and Hildegard Thompson, her younger sister, Kay Love, and an older brother, Earl Jerome, who died as an infant. Helen is survived by her older sister, Donna Carlson in Oklahoma, as well as Donna's children: Kathy Carlson, Mike (Pam) Carlson, Amy (Steve) Ball, and Tommy (Michelle) Carlson, and several great and great-great nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her niece, Mary Jo (Brooks) Robinson and and her great nephew, Lucas in California. Surviving her as well are her dear friends: Rosalie Bishop, Rose Lawrence and Susan Mathews and her beloved cats, Pepper and Cinnamon. Helen passed away peacefully on the morning of Sept. 18, 2012 in Visalia, Calif. Memorials in Helen's name are suggested to the Stevens County Historical Society in Northfield, Minn.