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Helen Cristin (Henningsgard) Nelson


Helen Cristin (Henningsgard) Nelson

SUN CITY - Of Buffalo, MN passed away peacefully on Friday, June 17th at her winter home in Sun City. Helen was born on September 15, 1924 to teacher Julia Crews (Krogness) and principal Virgil Crews in Neche, North Dakota, one mile south of the Canadian border. She graduated from Neche High School with the class of 1942, and went on to earn a baccalaureate degree from North Dakota State University in 1946. Helen married Russell W. Henningsgard of Fingal, ND in 1948, after which they relocated to Hopkins, MN. There they had two children, Kristine and Robert. Helen went on to earn a Master's degree in Home Economics from the University of Minnesota in 1971.

Helen's father, Virgil, underwent one of the first artificial heart valve implants at Rochester's Mayo Clinic in the spring of 1963. He later that year fell to a stroke, a little-understood hazard of the pioneering procedure.

Throughout her life, Helen participated in numerous diverse activities, from the NDSU marching band in the 1940's, to leading a Girl Scout Troop in Hopkins, MN in the 60's 70's, to organizing sabbatical for-credit summer studies in England, and many other notable endeavors and adventures.

Widowed when her husband Russell suffered a heart attack in 1984, Helen remarried in 1992, marrying fellow church member Donald E. Nelson of Buffalo, MN. They enjoyed numerous travel destinations, including England, Norway, Hawaii, and others.

Helen suffered a sudden thrombolytic stroke in late December 2021. While she survived thanks to a timely dose of the miraculous "clot buster" drug, her health gradually declined, until her death on June 17th. Even throughout her gradual decline she maintained a positive attitude, repeatedly stating, "I've had a good run." With her long, vibrant life, boundless energy, and diverse interests, a complete telling of Helen's life story would fill volumes. Her friends and relatives all agree with Helen: She had a good run!

Helen is survived by her son Robert Henningsgard, grandson Matthew Cruikshank, grandchildren Steven and Susan Henningsgard, great-grandchildren Victoria and Nathan Cruikshank, and great-grandson Crews Prigge. Memorials may be donated to either of Helen's charities, 1) The Salesian Missions, (2 Lefevre Lane, New Rochelle, NY 10801-5710), 2) The American Lutheran Church of Sun City.

Memorial Service Tuesday, June 28th, 2:00 PM at American Lutheran Church of Sun City, 17200 N Del Webb Blvd, Sun City, AZ 85373.