Helen A. Hollister
1921 - 2020
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Helen A. Hollister October, 1921- August 21, 2020 Our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother Helen Hollister showed up for her tee time in heaven on August 21, 2020, just a few months shy of her 99 th birthday. Helen Vaughn Atkinson was born in October, 1921 in Denver, CO. The first child of Ed and Hazel Atkinson, she was just a year old when the family moved to San Luis Obispo where her grandmother, Christine, was living. Her dad went to work at Cal Poly as a bookkeeper and the family settled nearby on Hope Street. Back then, the roads were gravel and there were few houses around campus. The family had chickens, horses, and a fruit orchard. Helen grew up cleaning out the chicken coops and riding her horse, Chamaka, bareback. In 1924, her sister Norma was born. Norma, the brunette, and Helen, the blonde, grew up to be beautiful women; both were offered Hollywood screen tests. Her dad, Ed, became a partner in the Union Feed and Seed Company in downtown SLO. After school, Helen would go in to help run errands and clean, but mostly to play in the hay loft. She graduated from SLO High in 1938 and attended San Luis Obispo Junior College, the forerunner of today's Cuesta College, for a year and a half. She then went to work for her dad in his new insurance agency. One day, after a high school pep rally and bonfire, her ride home bailed out and asked William "Wink" Hollister if he could take her home. Well, as they say, the rest is history and Helen and Wink were married June 29, 1940 at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in San Luis Obispo. They were married for nearly 67 years. Wink graduated Cal Poly in Aeronautics and began work at Allan Hancock Field which necessitated a move to Santa Maria. Helen could still vividly remember Sunday, December 7, 1941 when the attack on Pearl Harbor changed everyone's lives. During the war, she was an aircraft spotter, and later in life she continued to impress us with her identification skills. While in Santa Maria, she gave birth to their first son Lee in 1942. They later settled in San Luis Obispo when Wink joined his father-in-law Ed in his insurance agency that then became Atkinson and Hollister, Farmers Insurance. In 1954 son Jon arrived and a year later the family moved to their newly built house on Longview Lane, near Cal Poly. Helen stayed busy going to Lee's baseball games and serving as Den Mother for Jon's Cub Scout Pack. She also was able to pursue her lifelong passion for art. She regretted that she was unable to attend a formal art college but made up for it by studying on her own and taking classes from local artists Arne Nybak and Robert Reynolds among others. Helen was actively involved in the Art Center of SLO and many local families had their homes decorated with her paintings. Though she was accomplished in many mediums, water color was her favorite. Even in the last years of her life she would pick up a pencil and sketch a portrait or two. One of Helen's other passions was golf. She and Wink joined the San Luis Obispo Country Club in 1960, just a few years after it opened, and played golf there into her 80's. She made many great friends while golfing, and late in life she still delighted in taking the family out to dinner at "The Club." Helen was preceded in death by her husband Wink, parents Ed and Hazel Atkinson, and her sister Norma Sullivan. She is survived by her son Lee and daughter-in-law Lynn; son Jon and daughter-in-law Maronee; nephew Joe Sullivan; niece Cindy Campbell; granddaughter Tracy Tedone (Martin); grandsons Jeff (Karen), Gregory, and Andrew Hollister; great-nephews Ryan and Matt Campbell; great nieces Christena Sullivan, Holly Tremper, and Lisa Borba; great-grandchildren Abby Rice, Emma Hollister, Brooks Hollister, Lilly Hollister, Gabi Tedone, Keely Tedone, Will Tedone; and great-great-grandson Walker Rice. The family would like to thank all those who helped give Helen such great care over these last few years especially Emily at Sydney Creek and Jose and Azalea at Chateau Rose. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Ed Atkinson Memorial Nursing Scholarship at Cuesta College or the Hollister Adobe Restoration Project (both care of the Cuesta College Foundation). A private, family service was held and a celebration of life is planned in the future. Thanks for being an amazing Mom and a true matriarch of our family, and yes, we're all wearing our sweaters.

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Published in San Luis Obispo County Tribune on Aug. 30, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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5 entries
September 20, 2020
Dear Lee and Lynn, and the whole Hollister family... my condolences on your loss. My folks, Jack and Joy Jones, and our entire family have truly appreciated your friendship through the years. May you have high hearts as you remember the good times.
Craig Jones
Martinez, CA
Craig Jones
September 2, 2020
Heartfelt condolences to the Hollister families. May the good memories that you all share bring you solace during this difficult time.
Carol Ann Starr
August 30, 2020
Condolences to the whole Hollister clan. What a life!

Randal Cruikshanks and family
Randal Cruikshanks
August 30, 2020
What a sweet woman and a sweet, wonderful life. I will remember Helen and Winkie with a smile always. My condolences to Lee, John and their families.
Lori Oberholser Luna
August 30, 2020
Dear Hollister family,
Such a wonderful mother you have to celebrate, cherish and remember. In 1976 my husband Mike and I moved to Los Osos with a 3 year old and a five year old to begin a new life and a new career with Farmer's Insurance. It was such a struggle financially and emotionally in the beginning. We wondered why had we taken such a bold step to relocate here from the Bay area. We did not think that we would make it. And then.....Wink stepped in. He sponsored and paid for my husband's office rent for awhile, encouraged him to stay the course and persevere. Your mother was so gracious to us as she hosted her yearly Farmer's Christmas parties with a little gift for the wives. Well, thank you Wink and Helen. Mike did make it and did very well owning a Farmer's Agency for over 38 years. Sadly, he went to Heaven in June of 2017 at only 68 years of age. Heaven now has some very special Angels.
Barbara Wright
barbara wright
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