Helen Goodfellow

helen goodfellow

Helen’s Live Streamed Memorial Service can be viewed below:

Helen Goodfellow, 89, of Fargo, died Tues, Nov. 3rd at her home, surrounded by family.

Helen was born on Sept. 16, 1931 in Grand Forks, ND to Harry and Elise (Foogman) Tonn. Helen graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1949. She married Irvin F. Gesche on Jan. 4, 1952. Helen and Irvin had 5 daughters. He preceded her in death in 1972. She married Rev. Gordon Goodfellow on Jan. 25, 1990 and he preceded her in death in 2009.

While raising her family, Helen finished her college degree from Valley City State College. She went on to teach English in Verona, ND and later taught Jr/Sr High English and was the librarian in Hillsboro ND. She also coached speech and drama.

Throughout her life, Helen was active in her church and community. Helen enjoyed music, books, cards, and games with family and friends, especially her fun-loving card groups. She lived her life to the fullest, not wanting to miss anything her family and friends were doing. She was an ear to listen and friend to many. She loved being a grandmother to all of her grand-dogs and cats.
Helen is survived by daughters: Jean Gardner, Theresa (Gary) Lauden, Anita (Craig) Rise, Mary Tate, and Nanette Gesche, and her brother Dr. Robert (Noemi) Tonn. She is also survived by step children: David (Charmaine) Goodfellow, Paul (Linda) Goodfellow, Karen Goodfellow, and Lisa Goodfellow, Peter (Barb) Goodfellow, and Sandy Goodfellow. She also is survived by her much-loved grandchildren and step-grandchildren, great grandchildren, step-great grandchildren, and nieces. She was preceded in death by her parents, both husbands, and step-children Mark and Sue Ann.

There will be a family service on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 2:00 PM at the Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo, ND. Pastor Kevin Cassiday-Maloney will officiate. Burial will be at the Riverside Cemetery in Hillsboro, ND. The service will be on line at www.boulgerfuneralhome.com.
Memorials may be sent to Hospice of the Red River Valley, First UCC of Fargo, or of your choice.

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Memories Timeline


  1. What a beautiful woman with a heart and sole that matches! I know she was very proud of her family and she loved you all. She will continue that love as she will be in your hearts forever and on your shoulders as an additional guardian angel. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  2. Nan,
    You and your sisters, along with the rest of your extended family, have my sympathy in the passing of your mother.

  3. Helen was a good friend and enthusiastic educator. She will be missed by many. God bless her memory. Kathy and Stuart Larson, Park Rapids MN

  4. So sorry to hear of Helen’s passing. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with all the family at this time. Love always, Susan (Craig) Walkins

  5. Helen has been my neighbor for 9 years, I have never met a more kind, gentle soul with a heart of gold. She also displayed a humorous side that flourished when we played bridge. I will miss her dearly but know she is at peace in God’s loving arms. It is we left behind that grieve the loss.

  6. I remember when you lived behind us, in Lisbon. Some very fun times were had, and many laughs. In later years, Mom (Marj) and Ilo and I, would meet Helen at Paradiso, for lunch. Many more fun times.
    My deepest sympathies to you all.

  7. Nan and family, I am sad to see this. I have very fond memories of your mom as a teacher, director, and coach. I am sending prayers of comfort and peace to you all.

  8. What a wonderful lady who will be missed. I remember her as our drama teacher in high school, i had her in other classes but it was drama where I got to know her. It was so great to run into her over the years at MSUM’s Strawhat players each summer, Bob and I had ushered for them for 16 years and I ran into Helen quite a bit there. May you find comfort in your memories.

  9. Helen was an amazing woman. I got to know her thru being friends with her daughter Jean who became a good friend in college . She always welcomed you into her home . I will always remember her smile. She will be missed. My thoughts and prayers to the entire family..

  10. Anita,
    Oh, I was sad to see this, but glad I didn’t miss it. I’d been thinking about you and wondering how Helen was doing. Know that I am with you in spirit. I’m so glad I got to play bridge with Helen a few times. She was a wonderful woman & raised some terrific kids, one if whom is my good friend.

  11. Terry and all. Deepest sympathies to you all. Helen was a warm and strong lady who had to carry on after your dads passing. I spent many hours at your house in high school. Such a crazy, busy home with all the girls! A life well lived.

  12. To Helens family, I always thought so highly of your mother in High School and after. When ever I ran into her in Hillsboro, she would be so interested in what I was doing and my family. I have many happy memories of our junior and senior years with the Gesche’s Your Mom was one of the best. May God hold her in the palm of his hand. John Wright

  13. I was sorry to hear of Helen’s passing. I have fond memories of her especially breakfast while at the Lakes. My heart goes out to her family.

  14. Mrs.Goodfellow was my English teacher and I remember her high expectations for her students as well as her smile. I learned a lot from Mrs. Goodfellow and she challenged me. What sticks out most to me was that on the last day of class she had all of us ball up all of our notes from the year and have a “snowball fight” of paper in the room. She was behind her desk dodging and throwing with the best of us. God bless the life and legacy of Mrs. Goodfellow!
    Love, Erica (Larson) Skoglund (Hillsboro High School Alum)

  15. There are certain teachers that you remember all of your life, and Helen was one of the greats. A good, caring teacher who had respect for each of her students. RIP Helen. My condolences to the family.

  16. Sending prayers to the family. Helen was a very loving and caring woman. I’m grateful for knowing her.

  17. I just hope that Helen knew how much I admired her. I should have told her outright. I am proud to have gotten to interacted with her as a teenager. She improved my life My heart breaks.

  18. To Nan and all of the Gesche and Goodfellow families, my sincere sympathy to you at the loss of Helen.
    I had her as teacher/drama coach in high school and she was such a fun person! She was also a schoolmate and lifelong friend of my mom’s.
    May all the good memories of her be a comfort to you now.

  19. Ronald and I were sad to learn of Helen’s passing, Helen and Irv were living in Bohnsack Township in the 50’s. They were our neighbors and good friends. In maybe 57 or early 58, I came home with Ronald to visit the Porter farm,,,,,, well Irv called Ronald to see if he could milk Irv’s cows,,,, so Ronald said yes, and I went along . I think Irv , Helen and the girls were going out for some party.. Well they came home early,, and Irv saw Ron’s pickup and lights in the barn,,,, so he just came in,,,, and what a surprise as Ronald was giving me a big kiss in the barn. You maybe know this “adventure”,,, Helen teased both Ronald and I every time she saw us!!!!! Oh, for old memories . We were married in June 59,, and Helen was the first to welcome me (a Fargo girl) to the community. Our prayers for the family Peace, Love and Courage for the new journey, Gloria & Ronald Porter,

  20. Nan,
    I’m so very sorry to hear about your mother’s passing. Sending prayers 🙏 and hugs 🤗 for you and your extended family.
    Stephanie ( Hanson) Burrell

  21. I was sad to hear of Helens passing! Working for Irvin and Helen were some of the best years of my life. Helen always remembered my birthday! My sympathy to all of you! Iam sorry that i could not be there. I remember all of your nick names but I will not print them!Love to all of you

  22. I’m so sorry! I have tried to connect these last months! Helen was a true friend, gracious & fun-loving! May God comfort & bless her daughters, grandchildren & step- children as you continue without her.

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