Obit: Axelson, Helen Gertrude (1908 - 2010)

 

Contact: Dolores Mohr Kenyon

E-mail: dolores@wiclarkcountyhistory.org 
 

Surnames: Axelson, Hendrickson, Turnquist, Felix, Burgher, Tell, Bertz, Blomberg  
 

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI.) March 3, 2010 
 

Axelson, Helen Gertrude (26 September 1908 - 24 February 2010)  
 

Helen G. Axelson, 101, of Loyal died Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010, at her home. 
 

Helen Gertrude Turnquist was born Sept. 25, 1908, on a farm south of Green wood.  Helen was the first of four daughters born to Adolph and Julia (Hendrickson) Turnquist.  Helen attended elementary classes at Christopherson School, a one-room country schoolhouse in rural Greenwood.  She graduated from Greenwood High School in 1925.  Notably, this past May, Helen celebrated the 84th anniversary of her high school graduation at the Greenwood Alumni Banquet.  Helen completed her formal education in 1927, a graduate of the Stevens Point Normal Business College, the school now known as the University of Wisconsin –Stevens Point. 
 

In September of 1927, Helen moved to Chicago to seek work.  She often told amazed listeners, upon her arrival in Chicago, there was only one traffic light, at the corner of Chicago and Michigan Avenue; all of the other intersections were controlled by arterial stop signs. 
 

Helen began work Oct. 10, 1927, at Builder’s and Manufacturer’s Insurance Company. The Great Depression came in 1929, and like thousands of others, Helen was laid off in 1930.  Unlike others, Helen was fortunate enough to meet an old acquaintance from Greenwood, who had since moved to Chicago, and through his recommendation, Helen began work at the first of two housekeeping jobs that would see her through until the financial cloud lifted.  The acquaintance, coincidentally, was the doctor who had delivered her back in Greenwood in 1908.  Helen worked for the Fellows family for the next two years.  She sent money home to help her family, regardless of what type of employment she had. 
 

Helen married Erick Axelson Oct. 20, 1934. Between 1934 and 1941, Helen’s housekeeping was limited to that done around her own home.  In 1941, she took work outside the home at a perfume factory and continued there until the United States became involved in WWII.  In 1942, as many of her male counterparts went off to war, Helen went to work for the Army Signal Corporation as a tractor lift operator.  These were the days of "Rosie the Riveter" and now "Helen the Lift Operator."  Helen’s husband Erick returned home from the service in January of 1946. 
 

After the war, she ran her own school store on Chicago’s south side. Following this, she put her business skills to good use for 11 years as a bookkeeper and cashier for Lauder Brothers Ford.  Also, during her years in Chicago, she worked as a secretary for Chicago Osteopathic Hospital and later for Merchants Matrix until her retirement in 1973.  While in Chicago, Helen and Erick sold Amway products for a number of years. 
 

In 1973, Helen and Erick moved to Loyal.  Helen had been active in the VFW in Chicago, and upon her return to Wisconsin, she joined the Loyal American Legion Auxiliary. She also enjoyed participation in the Homemakers Club, the Garden Club and many church activities, including making quilts to be sent overseas to people in need.  Helen was also a member of the Greenwood High School Alumni Association. 
 

Helen has always valued family and has been actively involved in the lives of her sister, Verdelle Felix; her nieces and nephews, Paula Burgher and William Tell, daughter and son of Vera Tell; Douglas, Bruce and James Felix, sons of Verdelle Felix; and her great nieces and nephews, Emmie, Karl and Nichole. 
 

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Erick, April 2, 1986; and two sisters, Ruth Bertz in 1997 and Vera Tell in 2006. 
 

Over her 100 years on this earth, Helen has witnessed many changes and touched the lives of countless people.  Her faith, commitment to family and friends, strong work ethnic and devotion to service are recognized by all who have been blessed to know her. 
 

Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Monday, March 1, 2010, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Greenwood. Rev. Terri Blomberg officiated and burial followed in the Greenwood City Cemetery.  Visitation was held at the church Monday, from 10 a.m. until the time of service. 
 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church of Greenwood or the VFW - National Children’s home at 3573 S. Waverly Road, Eaton Rapids, MI 48827. 
 

Online condolences may be expressed at www.cuddiefh.com.  
 

Cuddie Funeral Home of Loyal assisted the family with arrangements. 

 

 


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