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Ruth Seim Helgen Obituary

Helgen, Ruth Seim Born on March 23, 1921 to Annie and Andrew Seim, passed away peacefully on December 10, 2013 in Minneapolis. From her childhood growing up on a farm in Willow Lake, South Dakota, she led an extraordinary life, traveling the world and serving her family and community. Ruth graduated from Augustana College and went on to teach in Sioux Falls and Denver, Colorado where she met her beloved husband Henry (Hank). They were married in 1952 for 56 years until Henry passed away in 2009. After several years in New York City, they moved to Hanover, New Hampshire, where Henry was in the administration at Dartmouth College. After 13 years in Hanover, the family returned to their Midwest roots in 1967 when Henry became Vice President and Dean of Students at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. Along with raising her three children, Ruth was an integral part of the college communities in which she lived. Ruth was especially known for her gracious entertaining and gourmet cooking. Her home was a gathering place for the Helgen and Seim families, friends, college faculty and countless students from around the world. She welcomed a constant stream of international visitors, from exchange students to representatives from various parts of Africa relating to Henry's involvement with the Peace Corps and Namibia. She was an accomplished seamstress, an avid gardener and was involved in numerous St. Olaf and community activities throughout the years. She was an active member of St. John's Lutheran Church and many civic organizations in Northfield, including the Arts Guild and the League of Women Voters. Ruth traveled with Henry to many countries, leading a vibrant life, always open and interested in the world around her, and proud of her Norwegian heritage. In later years, Ruth and Henry wintered in Palm Springs where she would entertain friends and family seeking refuge from the cold. But most of all, she was known for her selfless work for others, cheery disposition and being a wonderful mother, grandmother, wife and friend. For the past few years Henry and Ruth have lived in care centers in Hopkins and Minneapolis. Although afflicted with Alzheimer's for many years, Ruth always remained true to her pleasant and gracious self to the very end. Ruth is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Henry III and Michele (Minneapolis) their three children, Thomas (Minneapolis), Erika and her husband Antonio (New York City), and Brigit (Washington, D.C.); daughter, Anne and son-in-law, Michael Gilligan (Belmont, MA) and their three children Conor (Los Angeles), Christopher (Northwestern University) and Molly (Belmont, MA); daughter, Kristi (Eagle River, AK); her sister Anna and brother-in-law James White (Indianapolis), along with many close relatives. She is preceded in death by her sister Naomi and brother-in-law John Linnell. Memorials preferred to the Andrew Seim scholarship at Augustana College (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), Henry M. and Ruth S. Endowed Scholarship at St. Olaf College or St. John's Lutheran Church in Northfield, MN. Funeral Services will be 1:30 pm Saturday, December 14th at St. John's Lutheran Church in Northfield with burial at Oaklawn Cemetery. Visitation will be Saturday 1 hour prior to services at the Church.
This obituary was originally published in the Star Tribune.
Read Full Obituary for Ruth Helgen
Published online on December 12, 2013 courtesy of Star Tribune.

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