Heaven gained an angel when Helen Wickenheiser, 94, of Fargo, ND passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, in Natchitoches, LA, where she had been residing since 2013. She was surrounded and lovingly cared for by family and Hospice.
Helen, the eldest of 12 children, was born to Pius and Julia Reis of Kintyre, ND, on April 12, 1922.
After attending high school in Napoleon, ND she worked for the ND State Auditor and State Insurance Department from 1942-1950.
In 1948, she married Peter Wickenheiser in Bismarck, ND. To this union were born 9 children, Marguerite (Tim) Felchle, Natchitoches, LA; Mary (Bill) Kelsch, Bismarck, ND; Dr. Richard (Sharon) Wickenheiser, Red Bluff, CA; Mike (Janet) Wickenheiser, Centennial, CO; Charles (Theresa) Wickenheiser, Fargo, ND; Teresa (Bruce) Dodds, Hempstead, TX; Janet (Jeff) Slaven, Lenexa, KS; Barbara (Terry) Magnuson, Vergas, MN; and Julie (John) Heinze, Moorhead, MN.
After the children were grown and in school, Helen worked at Ben Franklin Jr High in the hot lunch program and at the Hospitality Shop at St. Luke’s (Sanford) Hospital. She retired in 1985. Helen was a member of the Catholic Daughters of America and in 2005 she was selected Mother of the Year by Holy Spirit Catholic Church.
Helen, a mother figure to many, was adored by everyone who knew her. Known to many as “Hospitality Helen”, you knew if you dropped by (unannounced) at the Wickenheiser house, there would be Kuchen or homemade goodies to enjoy while you visited. Mom knew everyone’s favorite foods and you could be assured that it was on the menu any time you visited – the German “Dough Diet” and her delicious pies were only a few of her specialties. Every grandchild was gifted a baby quilt lovingly handmade by their Grandma Helen. She loved to play cards with all ages and her embroidered dishtowels were best sellers at the church bazaars. Helen loved to sew and we are certain that her signature aprons can be found in many of your kitchens. Helen enjoyed spending time with family at their lake cottage on Lake Ida for 20 years, and most recently with family on Loon Lake. Up until her final days, her witty humor and reminiscing, brought smiles and laughter to all.
Helen is survived by her nine children, 19 Grandchildren (Kristen Evans, Jessica Peluso, and Erika Cedars; Michael, Christopher, and Sarah Kelsch; Jeremy and Peter Wickenheiser; Michael Wickenheiser; Trevor Wickenheiser and Leah Green; Chad Dodds and Amy Wiedenfeld; Haley Berg and Abigail Slaven; Benjamin and Taylor Magnuson; Justin and Ashley Heinze) and 20 Great Grandchildren (Aiden, Addison, and Avery Evans; Madelyn, Isabella, and Anna Peluso; Winston III and Holt Cedars; Maxwell and Brady Kelsch; William Kelsch; Alexis and Lucy Wickenheiser; Adelaide Wickenheiser, Keeley and Nora Green; Sunny and River Dodds; Cormac and Soren Wiedenfeld).
She is also survived by 4 sisters, Barbara Wald ( Napoleon, ND); Carolina Schatz (Kettle River, MN); Alvera Leier (Kintyre, ND); Angeline Geiger (Bismarck, ND); and 1 brother, Peter Reis (Napoleon, ND).
Helen was preceded in death by her parents; husband Peter; brothers Pius and Sebastian; sisters Eva, Clara, Theresia and Madge; and great grandchild Andrew Evans.
A special thank you to Margaret Williams, Dr. Kathleen Kautz, and Hospice of Natchitoches.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Helen’s memory can be sent to Hospice of Natchitoches at 340 Second Street, Natchitoches, LA 71457.
Visitation will be from 6:00-7:00 PM with a prayer service at 7:00 PM, Sunday, January 22 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Fargo.
Funeral Services will be held at 2:00 PM on Monday, January 23rd, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Fargo, with visitation one hour prior. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery.