Helen M. Aspaas, 95 of Sioux Falls, formerly of Dell Rapids passed away on January 9, 2018 at Dow Rummel in Sioux Falls. Her funeral service is at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at the Lutheran Church of Dell Rapids followed by a lunch gathering. Internment is in the East Nidaros Cemetery. Visitation is at noon on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at Kahler Funeral Home with the family present from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Helen M. Aspaas was born April 28, 1922, in Philip, SD, to Sophia and Mark (Billy) Marrington. She and her two younger sisters, Lucille (Celie) and Joyce, were raised on a ranch 40 miles north of Philip. She attended a country school for her elementary education, and went to Pierre for High School. She had to stay in Pierre during the school year, working for room and board between and after classes. Her sister, Celie, joined her after one year. She and Celie were good students, and had a love of music, singing in the chorus and taking piano lessons. After high school, Helen stayed home for a year to help care for her youngest sister, Joyce, while her mother taught school. The next year Helen and Celie both went to Augustana College in Sioux Falls. She met her future husband, Paul K. Aspaas, at Augustana where he was a pre-med student. Helen left college after 2 years, working as a teacher for a year, then as assistant superintendent of the school in Philip. Helen and Paul were married December 11, 1943, in the Philip Lutheran Church after Paul finished his first 2 years of Medical School in Vermillion. After a 2-day honeymoon they moved to Chicago where he completed his medical education. Helen worked as a secretary to support the family during this time. Paul then entered the Army for 2 years as a ship’s surgeon. By this time they had one son, Paul Kenneth, Jr. (Ken). Helen lived with her parents the first year of Paul’s military duty, then moved with their son to Kirkland, Washington, for a year while Paul was based at Ft Lewis.
Following Paul’s military service, the family moved to Dell Rapids, SD, where Paul joined the practice of Dr. A.F. Grove. They had their second son, Mark Iver, and Helen settled into the community. She was a housewife, and was very active in community affairs. She followed her sons’ activities closely, never missing an athletic event, band or choral concert, or play. She was a Cub Scout den mother, member and twice president of the band parents association, chaperone for multiple marching band trips, Sunday school teacher, church school superintendent, and member of the church choir. She served on multiple church committees, including the building committee. She worked hard to grow the church because of the increasing number of young people settling in Dell Rapids. Her son, Mark, designed the new addition to the church. She was doubly proud of that addition because she had a hand in convincing people it was the right thing to do, and because her son had designed it. She was also happy that she had the opportunity to be a Bethel Series trainee and teacher for 5 years. She felt that her knowledge of scripture and her overall faith benefited from the experience, and she loved sharing the information with other members of the congregation. She joined PEO in 1964, was local chapter president (Chapter AD) on multiple occasions, and state president from 1978-9. She loved that organization and her PEO sisters. She served on the Dells Carnegie Library board, and worked very long and hard along with her fellow board members to get approval of and raise funds for the library addition, repair, and renovation. She also helped to raise three foster children, had a young woman from Norway stay with the family for a year, and had an exchange student from Brazil stay to attend school. She took up painting as a hobby when she was 40, and found that she had a real gift. She painted with oils, watercolors and acrylics, and created some unique “rubout” paintings as well. She also enjoyed golf, bowling, bridge and other card games, traveling, and she had an intense love of reading. Perhaps her favorite entertainment was dancing. She and Paul, together with some of their friends, would go to dances in Sioux Falls and always had a great time. She loved spending time with friends and family, and adored her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Paul died in 2002. Shortly after, Helen moved to a twin home on the golf course where she lived for years with help from loving neighbors. Unfortunately, she developed an acute, severe illness that left her debilitated. After she got out of the hospital and rehab, she stayed with family for a while, but eventually went to Dow Rummel Assisted Living where she had a small apartment. She thrived in the environment at Dow Rummel for several years; she loved the caring staff and made new friends. She was happy and content there, but would occasionally wonder when God was going to call her home. She was anxious to “meet Jesus,” and to see her mother, husband, sister, family and friends who had gone before. Helen was a true “child of God.” Her faith was reflected in her love of God, family, friends, and community.
Grateful for having shared her life are sons: Ken (Maggi) and Mark (Dawn), Sioux Falls; sister: Joyce Greenwalt (Gary), Tulsa, OK.; grandchildren: Christopher (Nancy), Andy (Lyndsey), and Mahli Aspaas; Doug, and Liza Gaspar; great-grandchildren: Sofie, Liv, Alexis, William, and Teddy Aspaas; Mason Stanton; Daxton, and Autumn Gaspar.