Helen E. Donelan, 93, of Rochester, died Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, at Three Links Care Center in Northfield.
Helen Elizabeth Zeien was born Aug. 26, 1920, to Mathe and Anna (Dammann) Zeien in rural Fessenden, N.D. She attended the Zeien School located near the crossroads of the family farm. She graduated from Fessenden High School in 1938, going on to graduate from Trinity Hospital School of Nursing in Minot, N.D., where she worked in the surgery unit. In 1942, Helen enlisted as a nurse in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II, reporting to Fort Snelling. She was assigned to the Pacific Theater, working in Hawaii, Saipan and Okinawa. She was discharged in 1946 and continued her education, obtaining a bachelor's degree in nursing education at the University of Minnesota
in 1948. While she taught nursing, she mostly enjoyed interacting with patients at the bed-side. Later in life, she shared that during the war the wounded would arrive muddy and bleeding from battle and the most rewarding and appreciated act of her nursing career was giving those wounded soldiers a good shampoo.
She married Lyle Donelan on May 17, 1949, in Rapid City, S.D., where they spent most of their life together. Mr. Donelan passed away in 1989. Helen moved to Rochester in 2005 to be closer to family. In 2007, she attended the second Honor Flight from Rochester to Washington, D.C.
Helen is survived by her three daughters, Pat (Hartley) Silver, of North Hollywood, Calif., Colleen (Bob) Rostad, of Arvada, Colo., and Bonnie (Jim) Donelan-Dunlap, of Rochester; one son, Michael Donelan (George Ivy), of Denver, Colo.; three grandchildren, Michaela (Adam) Erickson, of Oronoco, Jackie (Jay) Vlazny, of Rochester, and Rick Rostad, of Golden, Colo.; and two great-grandchildren, Emma and James.
She was preceded in death by her husband, two sisters and five brothers.
Burial will be at Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, S.D., on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013.
Memorials are preferred to the
Macken Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. mackenfuneralhome.com