Cover photo for Helen Marion Ripley's Obituary
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1926 Helen 2014

Helen Marion Ripley

July 20, 1926 — February 24, 2014

Helen Ripley, age 87, a resident of Erhard, Minnesota, died on February 24, 2014 at Pioneer Care Center, Fergus Falls, Minnesota.Helen Marion Beckman was born July 20, 1926 in Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, the daughter of Robert "Walter" and Katherine (Bakke) Beckman. Helen was baptized and confirmed at Bagstevold Lutheran Church in Erhard. Helen grew up in rural Erhard where she attended District #17 School. Helen worked as a waitress at the B & L Caf in Pelican Rapids and at the River Inn in Fergus Falls. On March 11, 1945 Helen was united in marriage to Gerald Ripley Sr. in Pelican Rapids. Helen and Gerald were blessed with twelve children and she spent many years raising her family in Maplewood Township, east of Erhard.Helen was a member of Grace Lutheran Church where she was active in the ladies aid, church circles, and she enjoyed representing her church while attending church conventions. Helen enjoyed cooking, reading, making rugs, and growing flowers. Helen loved canning and making jelly. Her jelly won an award and membership in the Sure-Jell Hall of Fame. She was well-known for donating many jars of pickles and jelly for the annual Grace Lutheran Church bazaar, and other fundraisers. Helen taught her children the importance of hospitality and sharing with family and friends. The following is an excerpt from a tribute to Helen, written by one of her many grandchildren:"She (Grandma) was a great woman in a nontraditional way by today's standards. She was not famous, she was not well educated, and she never had a job outside of the home after kids came along. She couldn't drive, she was not well traveled, and she spent most of her life dirt poor. She raised 12 kids, much of the time by herself. Yet, she and her husband made sure that their children were fed, clothed, went to school, learned the value of hard work, respect, discipline, honesty, and faith in God. Although she would have qualified for any government assistance known to man, she believed it was her responsibility to take care of her own with her own means. If the house was cold, she made sure that more wood was brought in, if the cupboard was low, she planted a bigger garden, and the kids were expected to help tend to it. She could make a quality meal out of any kind of food. She listened more than she spoke, but she pondered everything everyone said. She was not perfect, but she never pretended she was either. She was generous, but never expected recognition for it. She did not seek attention or approval from society, what you saw was what you got- take it or leave it. Even though times were tough, I am glad that my dad was raised by her and I am proud to say that she was my Grandma Ripley."Helen is survived by her eleven children: Gerald (Sharon) Ripley Jr., San Antonio, TX, Mary (Charles) Blastervold, Cannon Falls, MN, David (Jeanette) Ripley, Erhard, MN, Arlene Johanning, Thief River Falls, MN, Sandra (James) Brummer, Pelican Rapids, MN, John (Carol) Ripley, Erhard, MN, Craig Ripley, Erhard, MN, Andrew Ripley, Erhard, MN, Jean (Kirby) Kugler, Erhard, MN, Ann (Paul) Johnson, Alexandria, MN, and Brian (Phyllis) Ripley, Erhard, MN; Son-in-law Gary (Becky) Longfors, Fergus Falls, MN, 26 grandchildren; 30 great-grandchildren; and 1 great-great-grandson; brothers: Herman Beckman, Pelican Rapids, MN and Eugene (Linda) Beckman, Chisholm, MN; sisters-in-law: Audrey (Oliver) Harrison, Alice (Curtis) Edwards, Lynette Ripley, and Amy Ripley; brothers-in-law: Millard Ripley and Merle Grossman; and numerous nieces and nephews.Preceded in death by her husband, Gerald; daughter, Susan Longfors; her parents; father and mother-in-law, Earl and Mabel (Hammerle) Ripley; sister, Lillian Grossman; brothers: Orville and Kenneth Beckman; brothers-in-law: Robert Ripley, Ronald Ripley, James Ripley, and Lyle Olson; sister-in-law Elena Ripley; nephews: Alan Grossman and Troy Schultz. Visitation: Friday February 28, 2014, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with a Prayer Service at 6:30 p.m.at Grace Lutheran Church, Erhard, Minnesota. Visitation will resume one hour prior to the service at Grace Lutheran Church, Erhard, Minnesota.Service: 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 1, 2014, at Grace Lutheran Church, Erhard, Minnesota.Clergy: Pastor Brad Soenksen Burial: Bagstevold Cemetery, Erhard, MinnesotaFuneral Home:Larson Funeral Home304 3rd Street S.E.Pelican Rapids, MNUS 56572
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