MISSOULA — Helen Smith, 90, of Missoula, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2019.
She was born on April 12, 1929 in Helena, to (E.P.) Phil and Anna Coulter. After living early years in Butte, Silver Bow and Helena, the family moved to Missoula where Helen was educated, graduating from Missoula County High School in 1947. She attended nursing school at Carroll College in Helena before marrying Alan Lee Price. She started as a telephone operator with Mountain Bell and worked her way up to management, transferring later in her career to Helena. Early in her career, she was a union officer and she was active in the Telephone Pioneers.
After retirement, she and husband Al enjoyed spending winters in Arizona and summers in Missoula and at Seeley Lake. They celebrated 35 years of marriage in 1985 in Missoula. Following his passing, she moved to eastern Washington to care for three of her grandchildren. In June 1991, she married Francis Smith (Smitty) and enjoyed the 11 years of each other’s companionship, living the coastal life in Seattle before returning to Missoula.
Throughout her life, Helen was a loving caregiver to aging family members and friends and earned the nickname “Saint Helen” for her selfless service. She volunteered at Community Hospital and Camp Make-A-Dream. She brought her considerable management skills to organizing family gatherings, earning a second honorific “The General.” She enjoyed the outdoors, fishing, hiking, hunting as well as cooking, reading, crafting and playing games, especially Cribbage, Yahtzee and RummiKub. Her happiest days were those spent with family. And, she never met a dog she didn’t like.
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She was preceded in death by second husband, “Smitty” and sister Virginia Ann Reed. Helen is survived by two sisters, Pat Dumaine, Kent, Washington, and Phyllis (Joe) Lucero, Littleton, Colorado, and many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by three daughters Julie (Lyno) Sullivan, Woodbury, Minnesota; Jeri Price, Missoula; and Bobi (Tony) Garrett, Golden, Colorado and Smitty’s son Douglas (Candace) Smith and daughter Nancy Smith. She was the proud grandmother of five grandchildren, Jonah, Rachel Zach, Logan and Whitney and their spouses and eight great grandchildren.
TO THOSE I LOVE AND WHO LOVE ME (author unknown) When I am gone, release me, let me go- I have so many things to see and do. You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears, Be happy we had so many years. I gave you my love, you can only guess How much you gave to me in happiness. I thank you for the love we have shown, But now it’s time I traveled on alone.
A family memorial will be held at a later date. Remembrances in the form of donations to an animal shelter or Hospice would be fitting.