Helen Ann Andersen

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Helen Ann Andersen
Nov. 11, 1925-Mar. 30, 2011

Helen Ann Andersen, nee Van Keppel, was born in Miami, Florida November 11, 1925. She passed away at home surrounded by her family in Gig Harbor, Washington, March 30, 2011.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Elizabeth Engelhart Van Keppel; and her father, Gerald William Van Keppel.
Helen grew up in Kansas City, MO and attended Southwest High School where she graduated in 1943. She graduated from Stanford University in 1947. Stanford was where she met her husband, Richard Andersen. She and Richard lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area where she raised three children. In 1969, she and Richard moved to Washington where they lived predominantly since. They spent the last thirty years in Skagit County before relocating recently to Gig Harbor.
Helen loved the outdoors. She was an avid hiker and an enthusiastic cross-country skier. Helen hiked many of the trails in the North and Central Cascades. Talk to her of her trail maps, and the listener would be treated to a detailed explanation of geology, flora and fauna. She collected native plants for her garden and many became beautiful bonsai.
She and Richard were ardent travelers to such diverse places as China, Tibet, Italy, Turkey, Guatemala and Mexico. She was ever the student of the places to which she traveled. Her bookshelves gave testimony to the many hours of research and planning she devoted before and after each trip. Many a trip photo shows a beaming Helen in an exotic location.
Helen was a life-long learner. She developed a passion for native plants and the geology of the Cascade Range from her hiking adventures. She continued her education by taking courses at Skagit Valley Community College. Her eager intelligence explored cosmology and music with the same gleeful curiosity.
She will be remembered as a loving wife, wonderful mother, true friend to her friends and best friend to her family.
In addition to her husband, Richard; she is survived by three children, Libby Andersen, of San Diego, California, Martha Andersen, of Boulder Creek, California and Jim Andersen, of Tacoma, Washington; and three grandchildren, Colin Richard, John Hanbury and Helene Ann Andersen.
A memorial service will be held this summer in Washington on a warm and sunny day in the mountains she loved.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made to the Washington Native Plant Society, Salal Chapter, 6310 NE 74th St., Suite 215E, Seattle, WA 98115, [email protected]; or Skagit Alpine Club, P.O. Box 1054, Mt. Vernon, WA, 98273, [email protected]

Published in The Herald (Everett) on Apr. 17, 2011
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