Helen Marie (Gartner) Wruck (1918 - 2016)

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Former Juneau resident Helen Marie Wruck died Friday July 15, 2016 in Salem, Oregon where she lived for 50 years. Helen lived in Juneau from 1941 to 1960 with her husband Evan Wruck. During those years, all of their 6 children were born in Juneau.

Helen was born to George and Julia Gartner in Melrose, Minnesota October 4, 1918, the sixth of 9 children.

In 1960 after Alaska became a State, Evan's job with the Bureau of Public Roads went from Federal jurisdiction to Alaska jurisdiction, and Evan chose to transfer to Oregon to continue his career with the Federal government. So they moved, but Helen said "anyone who has ever lived in Alaska always leaves a little bit of their heart behind".

Evan and Helen liked to travel. In 1946, they and their 3 young children traveled from Haines, Alaska down the Alcan Highway as one of the first civilian families to do so. They had to have a permit from the military which they got in Whitehorse. The highway wasn't opened to the public until 1948. They traveled in a 1934 Ford. They drove to Minnesota to visit family.

In 1959, the Wrucks purchased a 1959 Edsel 9-passenger station wagon in Juneau. Their first Edsel trip – now with 6 children - took them down through Washington, Oregon, and California (including Disneyland) and even down into Tijuana, Mexico. Again, they were "on their way" to visit family in Minnesota. The family sold the Edsel only recently – in 2014.

Helen and Evan joined an Edsel Club and during their many years of membership they drove their Edsel to all provinces in Canada, ALL the United States except Hawaii, and several states in Mexico. They thoroughly enjoyed the gatherings of Edsel owners in many U.S. states and parts of Canada. They put over 300,000 miles on their Edsel.

Helen was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, Evan Wruck, in 2000; son Gene in 1960; 6 siblings; and 2 grandchildren.

She is survived by 5 children, Sharon Estes (Jim) of Douglas, Alaska, Gerald Wruck (Marcia) of New Zealand, Allan Wruck of New York, Ann Flory (Ron) of Wyoming, and Elaine Wruck of Oregon.

She's also survived by 7 grandchildren, Charlie Estes of Juneau, Mike Estes (Kristi) of Australia, Tom Estes (Mischelle Douglas) of Oregon, Jennifer Estes Abbott (Nate Abbott) of Douglas, Joe Palmer (Sherié) of Minnesota, Ryan Wruck of Oregon, and Anna Wruck of New Zealand. Survivors also include 11 great-grandchildren; her sister Aurelia Thibodeau of Juneau, her brother Gerald Gartner (Margie) of Wisconsin, and 2 sisters-in-law Evelyn Gartner and Betty Campbell of Minnesota.

A funeral Mass was celebrated July 22, 2016 in Salem, Oregon. Burial took place July 26, 2016 in Roseburg, Oregon beside her husband Evan and son Gene.
Published in The Juneau Empire from Aug. 11 to Sept. 10, 2016