Helen Barbara Olsen, 98, Winona

Published 11:27 am Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Helen Barbara Olsen, 98, of Winona, Minn., and formerly of Austin, Minn., passed away peacefully on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, at St. Anne Extended Healthcare in Winona, with her family at her side.

Helen B. Olsen

Helen was born on Sept. 27, 1914, in Urbank, Minn., to a hard-working couple, Theodore and Elizabeth (Koep) Wacholtz. She was a homemaker and also worked at Austin Drug for more than 30 years. She was a former member of Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Austin, and was presently a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Winona. She was very active in her parishes as a member of the Rosary Society, the quilters and the Resurrection Choir. Helen was also a member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas Winona Court No. 191.

A fiercely independent, strong and gregarious woman, Helen inspired all in her life to live and cherish every day to its fullest. She persevered through much hardship in her life, especially the loss of two loving husbands, Clifford Wangen in 1938, and Alvin “Red” Olsen in 1962. She was a master gardener who could often be found among her beautiful flowers, and she was also an avid reader and quilter. Helen loved children and babies, and will always be remembered as a kind and loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend, who brought joy into the lives of those she touched.

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Helen is lovingly survived by her three children, Patrick (Noemi Arroyo) Wangen, Puerto Rico, Mary (David) Ludwigson, Winona, John (Lynn Cairns) Olsen, Sauk Rapids, Minn.; six grandchildren, Michael (Patricia) Wangen, Rose (Gareth) Jones-Wangen, Karen Wangen, Patricia (Carlos) Sanchez-Wangen, Jason Ludwigson and Megan (Timothy Bartlet) Ludwigson; six great-grandchildren, Christina Wangen, Ryan Wangen, Carys Jones, Catrin Jones, Paul Sanchez-Wangen, and Ricardo Sanchez-Wangen; sister, Betty (Jim) Herplinck, Albert Lea, Minn.; nieces, nephews, as well as other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, Cliff and Red; and her siblings, Theresa Nelson and Hubert, Lawrence, Leonard, Joseph, Albert and Henry Wacholtz.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Winona. The Rev. James Berning will officiate. Helen will be laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery, Austin. Visitation will be held in the Commons of St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, from 9 a.m. until the time of the Mass. The Catholic Daughters will meet in body at the church for the Recitation of the Most Holy Rosary at 9:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests memorials be considered to Catholic Charities, St. Anne Extended Healthcare or a charity of choice. Online condolences or memories may be left for Helen’s family at www.watkowski-mulyck.com. Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.