Juliane "Helga" Adams passed away Monday, Nov. 29, 2010, at the Journey Hospice Forest Ridge facility in Billings due to complications of congestive heart failure, diabetes and kidney cancer.
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Helga was born to Thomas Kissner and Elfriede (Frisch) Kissner in Frankfurt, Germany on Jan. 20, 1938. She lived in Germany with her family until age 18 when she met and married Donald Lee Adams in December of 1958. In the first two years of their marriage, Helga and Don began growing a family while stationed with the US Air Force near Athens, Greece. Their first two children, Thomas Michael and Donna Patricia, were born in Athens. After Don's military tour ended in 1961, the family moved back to the U.S. where the next two children, Michele Renee and Stephen William were born.
The young family began life in rural northeast Georgia and soon moved to Decatur, Ga., where Don was employed by the City of Atlanta. During this phase of their lives, Don worked the midnight shift at the Atlanta Water Department while Helga was busy with housewife duties and raising their four children.
The kids all remember mom telling them stories with her thick German accent about what life was like for her and her siblings growing up in Germany when times were very tough. Helga would talk about the scarcity of food during that period and how they would sneak into gardens around Frankfurt and dig up potatoes and other vegetables in order to survive. Helga and her family were not supporters of the Nazi movement before, during or after the war and she minced no words about that fact up until the day she passed. Due in large part to her understanding of the way in which Hitler came to power and the ensuing atrocities that followed, Helga was a fierce advocate of democracy and freedoms around the world even when it was, at times, unpopular to be one. She was extremely proud when she became a U.S. citizen in 1976.
Shortly after losing her husband Don to a heart attack in 1988, Helga moved to Montana and started her new life near Livingston. After a few years, she moved to Belgrade and lived there until her decline in health in August of this year. Her final weeks were spent under the watchful and loving care of Journey Hospice in Billings. Helga's family wishes to extend a very grateful thank you to all of the wonderful people at Journey Hospice who tenderly cared for their mom in her final days.
Helga is survived by her two sons Michael Adams and his wife Carol, of Seneca, S.C., and Stephen Adams of Savannah, Ga.; her two daughters, Donna Adams of Rome, Ga., and Renee Kerchal and her husband Todd of Billings, Mont. She is also survived by her one grandchild, Katherine Lee Kerchal who is currently attending Northwest College in Powell, Wyo.
Cremation has taken place and the family expects to hold a memorial service at Dahl Funeral Chapel in the early summer of 2011.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.dahlfuneralchapel.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapels
10 Yellowstone Avenue
Billings, MT 59101
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Dec. 5, 2010