Helen M. Locken, 85, Minot, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, at Trinity Hospital in Minot.
Helen Mae Kessler was born on March 20, 1927, in Minneapolis, Minn. Helen was the third daughter of five daughters born to Thomas and Lillian (Schroder) Kessler. As a young child, she and her parents moved to Minot, where she attended Roosevelt Elementary School and graduated from Minot High School in 1945.
After graduation, she worked at various jobs, including the American Cafe, Northern States Power, and Buttrey's in downtown Minot.
In 1947, she met a tall, handsome, former sailor from Plaza named Omar Locken. Helen and Omar were married that same year on Nov. 29. The following year their first child, Nancy was born. Two years later their first son, Don, and a year later a son, James, were born. Omar tried farming in the Berthold area for a short time and when the oil fields opened up in Tioga, the family moved there. Omar drove truck for Lawrence Brothers Transportation and Helen became pregnant with another son, Steven. She was a homemaker for a number of years.
When the children were teenagers, Helen worked at Hansen's Dry Cleaning and later at the Super Valu in Tioga. She loved having her children's friends around her home, and their yard was the usual gathering place for the neighborhood. She always had extra food and never said no to any friends who wanted to stay for supper. Saturdays were spent cleaning the house so it looked good when relatives visited on Sundays.
Helen loved her books and read every chance she got. She would usually read a novel a day and had cataract surgery in her later years so she could keep on reading.
After their first grandchild was born, Omar and Helen decided to move to Minot in 1975 to be closer to their children and grandchildren. They bought a house with an acre of yard and had huge vegetable gardens and beautiful flower beds. Helen and Omar loved to host picnics and holiday get-togethers for the whole family. Many good times were had at their home, especially during the holidays Easter egg hunts, Fourth of July and Christmas.
Omar passed away in September of 2004 after almost 57 years of marriage. Helen stayed in her home and continued the tradition of holiday get-togethers for the family. Her great-grandchildren loved to stay overnight at Grandma Helen's and had many friends in her neighborhood.
Helen loved playing bingo at Bingorama with her sister, Tena. Her daughter, Nancy, took her on many trips to casinos around the state and many vacations to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington and Oregon. She was always gung-ho to go gambling and even if she wasn't feeling all that well, it always seemed to make her feel better. She used to joke about there being bingo and gambling in Heaven. If there is, she is enjoying it now.
Helen will be very sadly missed by her family and friends. May God bless the spirit of our mom, Helen Locken. We were so lucky to have her.
Helen is survived by: her daughter, Nancy (Jerry) Herman, Minot; sons, James Locken, Minot, Steven Locken, Minot, and Don (Mary) Locken, Bismarck; former daughter-in-law, Mary Villareal Locken, Minot; grandchildren, Holly (Ron) Major, Sean Herman, Eric Locken, all of Minot, Christopher (fiancee, Jesse) Locken and Melissa (Kelly) Wrangham, both of Bismarck, Dawn Villareal, Seattle, Wash., and Anthony Villareal, of Kansas; great-grandchildren, Matthew, Megan, Katelyn and Brayden Major and Makenna Locken, all of Minot, Elway, Brielle and Maxxwell Wrangham, all of Bismarck, and Wiley Blue Villareal, Seattle; sister, Tena Collom; brother-in-law, Glenn Dickey, Minot. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
Helen was preceded in death by her parents; infant brother, Howard; husband, Omar; sisters, Irene Smedsrud, Alice Dickey and Mildred Widdell; and great-grandson, Noel Wrangham.
Funeral: Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013, at 11 a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, Minot.
Interment: Rosehill Memorial Park, Minot.
Visitation: Monday, Jan. 21, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home, Minot.
Memorials: Are preferred to Zion Lutheran Church, Minot.
Those wishing to sign the online register and share memories may access the online obituaries section at (www.thompsonlarson.com).