Helen R. Bagne, 85

Published 10:34 am Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Helen R. Bagne, 85

Helen R. Bagne, 85

Helen R. Bagne, 85, of Austin, Minnesota, died Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, at Sacred Heart Care Center.

Helen Ruth Anderson was born March 22, 1931, in rural New Richland, Waseca County, Minnesota, the daughter of Otto and Ruth (Hanson) Anderson. She was baptized at Vista Lutheran Church, which was organized by Swedish settlers in 1858. Helen’s great-grandfather, Lars Hokanson, was among those founders, and his handmade loon is on exhibit in the Waseca County Historical Society Museum in Waseca. The present church building was built in 1908 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Helen’s father, Otto, was of Norwegian descent and her mother, Ruth, of Swedish descent. Growing up on an 80-acre farm, she attended country school and as a teen had to get up at 5 a.m. to help milk cows. Helen also played the organ at church as a teen before graduating from New Richland High in 1948 with a special interest in Latin.

On July 7, 1948, this shy farm girl and a shy farm boy from northern Waseca County (Iosco Township), also of Norwegian and Swedish descent, who graduated from Waseca High School in 1948 and whose name was Myrwood Andrus Bagne, had their first date.  Three years and 364 days later on July 6, 1952, they were united in marriage at Vista Lutheran Church. Helen’s first two college years were at Gustavus Adolphus College and in 1950 she transferred to St. Olaf College, majoring in Latin and courtship. Helen and Myrwood graduated in the class of 1952. She worked to help support them during the three years Myrwood studied at Luther Seminary in St. Paul and his year of internship at Grace Lutheran Church in Watertown, South Dakoka, in 1954-1955. He graduated from seminary in 1956.

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Their first parish was at Frost, Minnesota, serving United Lutheran Church in town and Dell Lutheran Church in the country. During their four years at Frost, Kristin Ann was born on Jan. 8, 1957, and Karen Elizabeth on Nov. 28, 1959, both at the Blue Earth Hospital. In early 1960, he was called to be the first pastor of the new church in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, which he named Christ the King Lutheran Church. In late December 1963, he began serving Trinity Lutheran Church in Hayfield, Minnesota, which lasted 27 years. Both Helen and Myrwood felt Helen’s first calling was to be a full-time mother to their daughters and assisting him to serve as a pastor, both of which she did with her love, prayers, and loyalty, with distinction and grace, which many former parishioners would affirm. During their last years in Hayfield and early years in Austin, Helen served part-time for 16 years in the activity department of Field Crest Nursing Home in Hayfield. The Bagnes moved to Austin when Myrwood was called to be chaplain at St. Mark’s Lutheran Home, where he served from January 1990 through April 1998. In retirement, Myrwood served as interim pastor at St. Paul Maple Leaf Lutheran in rural Elma, Iowa, from May 1998-1999, Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, rural Austin, from May 1999-January 2001, and a summer interim at Deer Creek Lutheran in Carpenter, Iowa, in 2005. In 1971, the Bagnes began a series of wonderful trips to Europe. Kristin and Karen accompanied them for the first five or six trips. It was a thrill tracing ancestral roots in Norway and Sweden, as well as traveling in Denmark, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Later it was challenging but highly informative for them to travel on their own in East Germany in 1983 in honor of the 500th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther and in 1985 for the 300th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach and Handel.

In Myrwood’s first and only sabbatical in 1987, the Bagnes studied at the American Summer Institute for Clergy in Les Avant, Switzerland. Together they attended several winter pastoral conferences at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, and one time at the seminary associated with Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Trondheim, Norway was celebrating its millennium with tall ships in the harbor at the end of July 1997 when Helen and Myrwood attended a conference on theology and music, sponsored by St. Olaf College and the Lutheran Church in Norway. Special worship and music sessions were held in the famous Nidaros Cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe and burial site for St. Olaf. They were the second group to meet in a new conference and Cultural Center.  It was their last trip to Norway and Europe.  During their stay in Austin, Helen always accompanied her husband while he preached in over 70 churches in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.  She always played the piano for the midweek services at St. Mark’s Lutheran Home and accompanied Myrwood when he sang solos for church worship services and at funerals.

Helen participated in Sacred Heart Care Center’s Adult Day Care-Memory program beginning in March of 2014. On Dec. 9, 2015, she became a resident of their nursing home facility. Her family is profoundly grateful for the skilled and loving care she received there.

Helen will be and is sadly missed by her husband, Myrwood, of Austin; her daughter, Kristin and her husband, Henry Huang, and their sons, Billy and Benjamin of Madison, Wis.; her daughter, Karen and her husband, Syd Pederson, of Roseville, Minnesota; and by many friends and former parishioners. God bless her memory. We are grateful to share her forwarding address — “The Father’s House.”

Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, at Worlein Funeral Home in Austin. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Austin, and at 3 p.m. at Vista Lutheran Church, rural New Richland. Interment will follow at the Vista Lutheran Church cemetery.

Worlein Funeral Home of Austin is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.worlein.com.