S S Cyril & Methodius Catholic
120 W Riggs St
East Helena, MT 59635
(406) 227-5334
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Rella N. Rolfes

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Rella N. Rolfes Obituary
Rella N. Rolfes

Rella N. Rolfes, of Helena, passed away early Tuesday morning, October 6, 2015, at Apple Rehabilitation Nursing Home. She was 90.

Rella Narvene Nelson was born on June 30, 1925, in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she attended Bancroft Elementary School and Everett High School. Her classmates gave Rella the nickname, "Jean," based on the song, "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair," and she used that nickname for much of her life. Rella was artistically talented and, while in high school, she painted a picture that was displayed in the school hallway.

In 1941, Rella moved to Manhattan, Kansas. She worked there as a waitress at the Wareham Coffee Shop. On August 14, 1945 (V-J Day), Rella married Herbert S. Rolfes. The couple settled in Lincoln, Nebraska, where their three children were born. In 1957, the family moved to Slayton, Minnesota. Rella worked at the Slayton Public School cafeteria and then at the Campbell's Soup Factory in Worthington, Minnesota. She was also a Girl Scout Troop Leader.

In 1964, Rella was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. After a year's illness, the disease went dormant, and Rella led an active life for the next twenty-six years. She worked at the Slayton Bakery and then at the Slayton Manor Nursing Home cafeteria. Rella studied art sculpture in an evening adult education class at Slayton High School. In 1973, Rella and Herb moved to Hartford, South Dakota where, together, they operated a Standard Oil Service Station in nearby Sioux Falls. Around this time, Rella started using her given name instead of her nickname. In 1981, Rella and Herb moved to Canistota, South Dakota, where they owned and operated "The Starlite Motel." In 1984, Rella's multiple sclerosis returned, causing some disability. In 1985, Rella and Herb retired and moved back to Hartford, South Dakota. In 1997, Rella and Herb moved to East Helena, Montana.

Rella's disability increased, and on 1 Feb 2001, she moved into the Apple (formerly Cooney) Rehabilitation Home. While living there, she was visited by her beloved husband, Herb, every day, all day long, until Herb's death in April 2007. They had been married for 61 years. Rella was also preceded in death by her treasured daughter, Marlene Madonna Rolfes Jump, in 2011 and by her parents, Anna Luella Murrey McKinstry Hendricks and Marvin Nelson.

Rella is survived by daughter, Katherine and son-in-law, Wayne Coleman of Springfield, VA; son, Herbert Rolfes of Helena; son-in-law, Frank Jump of Lake Forest Park, WA; grandson, Matthew Coleman of Alexandria, VA; granddaughters, Genevieve Coleman of Alexandria, VA and Margaret Jump of Lake Forest Park, WA; and great-granddaughters, Aliyah Jump-Powell and Ava Stallings of Lake Forest Park, WA.

A Funeral Mass will be held at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, October 28, at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church, 120 W. Riggs, East Helena, MT. Interment will follow the Mass at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Ft. Harrison. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Rella's name may be sent to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, online or at P.O. Box 4527, NY, NY 10163.

Published in The Argus Leader on Oct. 21, 2015
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