Helen Olive (Horsager) Dewald, 92, passed away Sept. 26, 2017, in Fargo. A service in memory of Helen will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Moorhead, Minn. An interment service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at the North Dakota Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Mandan.
She was born March 22, 1925, a minute after her twin sister Hazel, on the family farm west of Berlin, to John Ralph Horsager and Marie Louise (Fitzgerald) Horsager. As a young girl, she lived with her parents and siblings on the farm. She attended grades one through six in rural country schools and grades seven through high school in Berlin, where she earned a high school diploma.
When Helen was six years old, her mother Marie died. Her father married Adele Svanhild Willason, who became the mother that Helen and her siblings loved for as long as they could remember.
After high school, Helen married Elmer Johannas Dewald in Edgeley. He was soon drafted into World War II, so Helen, her new born son, Derrald, and her sisters followed their parents to the Bay Area in California where Helen became a ship yard welder in support of the war effort. Elmer was wounded and sent from Europe to an Army rehabilitation center in Battle Creek, Mich. Helen packed up baby and went to be with him during his stay. Until the end of her active days she was a proud member of several veteran’s groups.
After discharge, they moved to Napoleon to begin their new life as a family together. A few years after having another child, John, Helen returned to the working world. From 1954 to 1962, Helen was employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Logan County ASCS office. She was also very active in community activities; teaching Sunday school and participating in Ladies Aid at St. Mathews Lutheran Church, making costumes and props for Napoleon School programs and working with husband Elmer to establish and support the Boy Scouts of America program in Napoleon. That program produced several Eagle Scouts, including their two sons.
In 1962, Helen and Elmer moved to Bismarck, when he accepted a staff position with the North Dakota Supreme Court. Before long Helen was back on the job taking a position in a state government office. She spent most of those years in the Department of Health Division of Vital Statistics where she eventually became a computer operator overseeing direct communication with the U.S. Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Ga. Helen never shied away from the opportunity to learn something new. Upon her retirement in 1987 she purchased her own personal PC to support their real estate and appraisal business. She was an early adapter to the use of home finance software and was known to exchange email with friends and family well into her 80s. When Elmer retired in 1990, they began spending winter months in the New Braunfels, Texas, area.
After husband Elmer’s death in 2003, Helen moved to Moorhead, Minn., to be close her son Derrald and family. She proudly purchased her own condo nearby, eventually moving on to assisted living and then to Bethany Retirement where she spent her final days.
Helen is survived by her brothers, Bryan and Harley (Diane) Horsager; her son, John (Gail) Dewald and daughter-in-law, Evon (Johnson) Dewald. She leaves six grandchildren, Amy (Rolf Jacobsen) Dewald, Cari (Erich) Dewald Drees, Johannas (Shera) Dewald, James Dewald, Christian (Lauren) Dewald, and Alyssa (Dan) Dewald Hartlage; and 10 great-grandchildren who often referred to her as “Helen the Great.” In addition she leaves many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
She was predeceased by her husband, Elmer; her son, Derrald Elmer Dewald; her parents; her stepmother; her siblings, Joanne Serena Horsager, Miles John Fitzgerald, Hazel Horsager Drenth, Blaine E. Horsager and Harriet Horsager Whelan.