Helen M. Holstad
Helen M. Holstad, 92, Lake Mills, passed away Monday, Nov. 11, 2019 at the Lake Mills Care Center. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at Emmons Lutheran Church, Emmons, Minn., with Pastor David E. Schafer officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday. Cremation will take place after the service with burial of the ashes at a later date in Salem Lutheran Cemetery in Lake Mills.
Helen Mae (Bjelland) Holstad was born Jan. 6, 1927, rural Joice, to John and Esther (Hanson) Bjelland. She was blessed to have an older brother, Thayne. Helen was baptized by Pastor O.R. Sletten and confirmed by Pastor Joseph L. Knutson at Salem Lutheran Church, Lake Mills. She attended Country School District 4, Silver Lake Township, first through eighth grade, and graduated from Lake Mills High School, Class of 1944. She always loved music, playing piano for many events in school and played percussion in the band.
On March 24, 1946 Helen married Virgil Holstad at Salem Lutheran Church by Pastor Howard Blegan. They were blessed with three daughters: Vonice Marie, Julie Ann and Amy Jo. Helen and Virgil spent their life farming together-initially on three different farms by Emmons and one by Round Prairie Church, until they purchased the “farm on the hill,” rural Twin Lakes, Minn. in 1963. They moved to Lake Mills in 2007. Helen actively participated in their dairy farm, even having her own special John Deere tractor. Two things that brought her great joy on the farm were being outside mowing their large yard and maintaining her garden.
Community was an important part of her life, being involved in circles, Ladies Aid, and being the church organist at Round Prairie Lutheran Church for 44-1/2 years. She also accompanied many singing ensembles and played for numerous weddings. Helen also had a large number of piano students for many years, of which two are now organists themselves.
Grandma Helen enjoyed passing on many traditions to her family including freezing corn, canning tomato soup, making lefse and popcorn balls. No Christmas was complete without her Swedish meatballs and special cheese ball. She always had goulash and apple pie in her freezer for when company dropped by.
Special times in their lives were spent playing cards with friends and grandchildren. Both Helen and Virgil loved square dancing and ballroom dancing, and enjoyed the fellowship with those friends for many years. Many miles were traveled in their motorhome with either one driving. They were snowbirds to Texas, Arizona and California from 1990-2008. The couple also traveled to Norway twice, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The highlight of their life was a family trip to Norway and Sweden to the ancestral farm in 2005.
Helen Mae was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She was joyful, hardworking and humble, with God and family at the center of her life.
She is survived by her husband Virgil, Lake Mills; two daughters: Julie (Arlow) Rugland, rural Northwood; and Amy (Roger) Olson, Lake Mills; son-in-law, Loren Stene, St. Ansgar; grandchildren: Jon (Tara) Stene, Zumbrota, Minn.; Erich (Julie) Stene, Lake Mills; Andrew (Kendra) Stene, Lake Mills; Amber (John) Pearson, rural St. Charles, Minn.; Benjamin (Anna) Stene, Lake Mills; Jessica Rugland, Chaska, Minn.; Kristoffer (Addie) Rugland, rural Northwood; Chad Rugland, Mason City; Katie Olson, Minneapolis, Minn.; and Jack Olson, Rochester, Minn.; 14 great-grandchildren; and siblings-in-law: Ellen Bjelland, Dean (Senora) Holstad, Mavis Bergo, Eva (Milt) Haroldson, and Jerry (Dorothy) Holstad.
Helen is preceded in death by her parents, John and Esther Bjelland; parents-in-law, John and Edith Holstad; brother, Thayne Bjelland; daughter, Vonice Stene; son-in-law, John Rygh; and brother-in-law, Ernie Bergo.