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Helen Mae Meyer was born on Flag Day, June 14, 1922, to Elsie and Jay Gregory on the farm at Carpenter, North Dakota, 1 mile from the Canadian border and 4 miles from the International Peace Garden. Helen has had incredible stamina since the minute she was born. She often talked about being born 1 month early on the isolated farm, with a throat full of mucus. It was touch-and-go for her and her mother for a while but they both were strong and stubborn women. It is ironic that Helen left this world on June 3rd in the same manner that she came in. She is reunited in peace with her loving husband Dick and 3 infant boys.
Helen often commented that although her life on the farm was often difficult, it was the most peaceful life she had. She loved all of the gardening and animals and her horse Brownie. She was educated in the local North Dakota schools.
After World War II, Helen met Richard (Dick) Meyer and they were married on December 31, 1946, in Bottineau, North Dakota. They were blessed with 3 sons, Gary, Joseph, and Lee, all of whom sadly passed away withing a few days after their birth. Their true blessing came when their daughter Joyce was born.
Helen was devoted to caring for others from a young age, 1st caring for her grandfather, James Smith (a Civil War veteran). Later she cared for her mother who was a severe diabetic. She worked as a nurse’s aide at St. Andrew’s Hospital in Bottineau, ND and at St. Ann’s Hospital in Anaconda. She was employed at the Montana State Hospital Galen Campus as a nurse’s aide and rehabilitation aide until she retired in 1984. Helen babysat for several families in Anaconda. After her retirement, Helen worked as a companion for Mrs. Lorene Knight until Lorene’s death. She loved children and caring for others. Helen was a very kind person, was always willing to help others, and donated to many charities.
In their younger years, Helen and Dick belonged to the Anaconda Saddle Club and owned several horses. She enjoyed riding and the companionship of the horses. Helen’s other hobbies and interests included dancing, needlework, making stuffed toys for children, recycling cards for the Nursing Home and Hearthstone, and playing bingo. She made many beautiful, embroidered pillows for the Anaconda Rest Home residents and always remembered them with cards, treats, and visits. She spent many hours volunteering for the Anaconda Head Start Program where she was “grandma” to so many of the children. Each year, she looked forward to helping distribute dictionaries to Deer Lodge, Powell, and Granite County 3rd graders as part of her volunteer work with Avon Grange.
All of Helen’s friends and the Anaconda businesses were very important and special to her. She loved having tea with them, visiting them at their campsite, going out for a meal, or visiting with the local business owners and staff.
Although Helen was a convert to the Catholic Church, she was a devoted member. She was a 38-year member of Avon Grange #125, Mill Creek Extension Homemakers, the Montana Retired Public Employees Council, the Anaconda Red Hat Group, and frequent visitor to the Smelter City Senior Center.
Helen deeply loved her family and enjoyed spending time with all of them. She felt very blessed to have lived long enough to watch her granddaughter Jessie grow up and have children. Spending time and taking part in activities with her great-grandchildren Jaycee, Justin, Tucker, Jerzey, Cody and Jake was one of her biggest joys.
Helen was preceded in death by her husband Richard; three sons, Gary Jay, Joseph, and Lee Richard; parents Jay and Elsie (Smith) Gregory; sister Bessie Gregory; sister and husband Violet and Carl Abrahamson; brother Kenneth Gregory; brother and wife George and Kathy Gregory; nephews Terry Gregory and Clayton Abrahamson; niece Alice Beckton; in-laws Emma and Henry Meyer and many of her husband Dick’s family.
Helen is survived by her beloved daughter and son-in-law Joyce and Marty Billquist; granddaughter Jessie Billquist-Sather and her husband Doug Sather; former grandson-in-law Arthur Jette; great-grandchildren Jaycee Jette and fiancé Quinn DeMarois, Justin Jette, Tucker Jette, Jerzey Jette, Cody Amundson, and Jake Sather; and many nieces and nephews on both sides of the family.
In honor of what would have been Helen's 101st birthday, a Celebration of Her Life will be held on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 at the Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home Chapel, 107 Oak St., Anaconda, MT, at 11 a.m.. Following the Celebration of Life, a graveside service will be held at Sunset Cemetery, 5001 Crackerville Rd, Anaconda, MT. Immediately following the graveside service, a reception will be held at the Anaconda Elk’s Lodge, 223 Main St., Anaconda, MT. To honor Helen's vibrant spirit and her Flag Day birthday, please feel free to either wear your brightest shades of pink or purple or red, white and blue.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Avon Grange Memorial Fund c/o Nancy Hardtla, P O Box 1367, Anaconda MT 59711 or to the Smelter City Senior Citizen Center, 115 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Anaconda, MT 59711.
Please visit the sidebar to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Helen.
Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Helen and her family.
Avon Grange Memorial Fund c/o Nancy Hardtla
P.O. Box 1367, Anaconda MT 59711
Smelter City Senior Citizen Center
115 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Anaconda MT 59711