MISSOULA — March 28, 1940 – Aug. 7, 2019
Helen was born in Philipsburg to Robert and Mary Helen Christensen and grew up on her family’s cattle ranch on the Ross’s Fork. She started school in a one-room schoolhouse on the middle fork of Rock Creek, where she attended with her bothers Bill and Jim until third grade. After the Middle Fork school closed, she had to meet the bus six miles from the ranch and ride the remaining 15 miles to Philipsburg on the school bus. She graduated from Granite County High School in 1958. After graduating, she attended Modern Business College in Missoula with Bob Loran’s sister, Kathleen.
In 1960 Kathleen asked Bob to give Helen a ride home from college because Helen was walking to and from school during the winter. Bob started to give her rides home after she finished her classes for the day and two years later, they started dating. She worked in public records for the State of Montana in Helena. They made several trips back and forth from Helena and Missoula to see each other.
Helen told her mother she knew she was going to marry Bob four months before he proposed. It was so romantic… at a 4B’s restaurant, Bob asked her, “Do you want a ring for that finger (while pointing to her ring finger on her left hand) for Christmas?” Helen and Bob celebrated their 56th anniversary this year.
Helen worked for the Forest Service in Missoula while raising their five kids and fostering several other children on a half-acre in Target Range, a suburb of Missoula, where they lived for 21 years. In the summer, they sold lots of gladiolas, flowers and vegetables at the local Farmer’s Market. The family moved to Walla Walla, Washington, in 1993, where Helen worked as a secretary for an attorney because of her knowledge and background in insurance, and her amazing typing skills.
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Helen and Bob were homebodies who raised great kids and a wonderful garden. She enjoyed weeding with her putty knife and sun hat. Dark pink and red roses were her favorite flowers. Helen and Bob were regular members of the Assumption Catholic Parish. Helen was shy and sweet, with a good sense of humor. Bob loved to tease her, but she knew when he was teasing and always played along.
She enjoyed watching older TV westerns and loved black jellybeans, word search puzzles and visits from her children and grandchildren. She was an avid reader and loved library book sales. Helen did beautiful cross-stitch and embroidered pillowcases. She collected teapots, Delftware and cut glass from rummage sales.
Helen is survived by her husband, Bob, children Robert Loran, Mary (Rory) Indreland, David Loran, Rebecca Howard, Kristi (Darcy) Wiebe; 13 grandkids; brothers, Jim (Jan) Christensen, Steve (Ginger) Christensen and sister, Marilyn (Albert) Silva and sister-in-law Sharon Christensen. She is preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Bill Christensen.
Memorial Mass for Helen will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, at St. Anthony’s Parish in Missoula. Memorial Mass date for Walla Walla is pending.