Helen Matilda Nelson Ekberg died Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, at her home in Minot at the age of 98.
Helen was born Nov. 29, 1914, on the farm of her parents, Gust and Hilma (Rhodin) Nelson, in Villard Township, near Motley, Minn. The family moved to Lignite when Helen was 2 years old. She was raised and educated through high school in the Lignite area.
Helen received her teaching certificate from Minot Teachers College and taught in several one-room schools in North Dakota. On Oct. 3, 1943, she married Gustave S. Ekberg, a farmer from Burke County. She and Gustave lived on the Ekberg farm (which had been homesteaded by Charles and Thilda Ekberg in 1902) until 1982 when they moved into Kenmare. They retired from farming in 1986.
Helen and Gustave raised three children. Dianne was born first and initiated them in the trials of parenthood. Dean is the middle child and Susan the much loved younger daughter. Dianne is married to Robert Arnold. Susan is married to David Lindvall. There are two grandchildren: Dawn Arnold Phleger and Jeffrey Arnold (married to Catherine Neuschler).
Helen is survived by two great-grandchildren, Max Phleger and Skye Phleger, who were a source of joy to her.
Helen's special talent was music. She received an accordion at an early age; it is seen in many pictures of her during her lifetime and she last played it in 2010. In her retirement years, she organized a musical group, the Melody Makers, leading sing-a-longs to entertain at nursing homes and senior centers in the Kenmare area. She gave that up only when she moved to Minot in 2003.
Her spiritual life was important to her. She and Gustave were active members of the Niobe Baptist Church and Faith Baptist Church in Kenmare. They both received much satisfaction from their personal ministry of visiting people who were ill or shut-in. Helen attended Our Redeemer's Church in Minot.
Since 2003, Helen resided at Edgewood Vista in Minot where she appreciated having her own apartment and time to read, play her keyboard, work crossword puzzles, play cards and sleep late. She traveled regularly to Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego and Bellingham, Wash., to visit family until a few years ago.
Helen was the last surviving child of nine of Hilma Fredrika (Rhodin) and Anders Gustaf Nelson. Her sisters and brothers were Agnes Staaleson, Victor Nelson, Nellie Chinburg, Frank Nelson, Gladys Gagnum, Leslie Nelson, Walter Nelson and LeRoy Nelson.
She is also survived by sister-in-law, Betty (LeRoy) Nelson of Topeka, Kan., and many nieces and nephews and their families.
Memorials are preferred to Prairie Public Broadcasting (Fargo, ND) or The Salvation Army.
Funeral service: Saturday, Nov. 16, at 11 a.m. with visitation one hour prior at Our Redeemer's Church, 700-16th Ave. SE, Minot, ND 58701.
Interment will take place on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 2:30 p.m. at Lakeview Cemetery, Kenmare.
Those wishing to sign the online register and share memories may access the online obituaries section at (www.thompsonlarson.com).
(Thompson-Larson Funeral Home, Minot)