Helen Louise Landsverk (07/20/1922 - 04/18/2011)

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LANDSVERK, Helen Louise

Passed away peacefully on April 18, 2011 at age 88. Helen was born in Minneapolis, MN on July 20, 1922 to Paul Eric and Helen Lofthus Paulson, parents of Norwegian heritage. She was the middle child with two brothers, Dr. Eric R. Paulson and Dr. Paul S. Paulson. The family resided in Turtle Lake, North Dakota. At age 12 Helen spoke of having had a Spiritual Experience wherein God called upon her to become a missionary. She decided to study medicine and become a nurse. Music was ever present in the Paulson home and Helen often accompanied at the family piano. She loved country and folk music. As a teenager Helen purchased her first guitar for $5 from Sears & Roebuck and taught herself to play from the enclosed manual. Thus began yet another aspiration: that of a witty "singing, guitar strumming cowgirl" (she would later recall with a wink and a grin). Helen graduated from high school as class valedictorian at age 17. In 1943 she obtained her nursing diploma from Trinity Hospital School of Nursing in Minot, N.D. then joined its faculty as an Instructor. Helen worked as School Nurse at Augsburg College in Minneapolis concurrently while studying for a B.S. in Biology received in 1947. It was during her duties at Augsburg while administering vaccinations that Helen met future husband Rev. Obert J. Landsverk, a seminary student. The couple married in Spokane on December 31, 1948. Both sought to serve as Lutheran Church missionaries and were assigned to the Santal Mission in India. In 1951 they boarded a cargo ship with first born son Paul and traveled to Northeast India in the State of Bihar. During their 10 years overseas Helen and Obert had three daughters: Carol, Mary Ann and Lois Kay, all born in India. The Landsverk family returned to Spokane in 1963. Helen became Lead Instructor at the Deaconess School of Nursing for the following 10 years until its close in 1974. Helen was a gifted musician and had a beautiful natural singing voice. During the 1960's she wrote her own music and poetry inspired by India and Holden Village. As an ASCAP member she published original songs and recorded two albums, Helen Sings and Calendar of Days . She co-authored New Century World of Song: Theory and Practice in 1972. She received a M.A. in Guidance and Counseling in 1973 from Gonzaga University. As Assistant Professor at Gonzaga she designed and initiated the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Helen obtained an Ed.D in Educational Leadership in 1983 as part of the first doctoral graduating class at Gonzaga. She continued her nursing career with Home Health Services until her retirement at age 75. She is preceded in death by Rev. Obert J. Landsverk, older brother Dr. Eric R. Paulson and grandson Scott G. Dickinson. Remaining family members in Spokane are younger brother Dr. Paul S. Paulson (Denise), son Paul S. Landsverk (Susan), daughters Carol J. Dickinson (Walter), Mary Ann Lowe (Greg) of Tacoma and Lois Kay Landsverk (Jochen Hehl) of Bamberg, Germany. She had nine grandchildren, one great grandchild and 17 nieces and nephews. In her poem Sweet Clover , Helen reflects on her childhood in North Dakota, "The roll of the prairie, the blue of the sky, the tear in my heart, and the tear in my eye. The scent of the green and young sweet clover, I want to go back after young days are over." A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Spokane.


Published in Spokesman-Review from May 29 to May 30, 2011
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