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Helen Caricaburu Dyba

November 6, 1937 ~ June 1, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old


Helen Caricaburu Dyba reluctantly passed away at her home in Billings on June 1, 2023, at the age of 85.

Helen was born in Glasgow to Basque immigrants Peter and Mary Jane Caricaburu, on Nov. 6, 1937. Two weeks after she was born, her father died, leaving her mother to raise her and six brothers and sisters on a farm along the Milk River. A farmgirl at heart, she helped with the crops and was active in 4-H. The highlight was showing her steer, Duke, at the Valley County fair and, although they failed to win a ribbon, the pair received the highest bid thanks to an open safety pin in her pocket used to get Duke up off his knees. Extremely close to her mom, she would risk life and limb during school years to get back to the farm for the weekends. Helen attended Glasgow High School, played the drums, was homecoming queen and worked at the Dairy Queen and credit bureau.

She married Tony Dyba on June 1, 1957, in Miles City and they settled in Glasgow, where they raised three children. Helen was a pinochle-playing den mother, fierce Scottie mom, altar society and city council member. While she excelled in most things, driving a boat on Fort Peck Lake was not one of those, providing many stories and earning her the nickname “Skipper.” In later years, she reminisced about all the happy times and great friends in Glasgow.

The family relocated to Billings in the late ’80s. An avid reader, Helen also enjoyed attending the annual CM Russell art auction, travels with her kids, adventures with friend Barb, PBS programs and a good red wine. She loved Montana, the 4th of July in Red Lodge and all kinds of music, from Bocelli to the Highwaymen. For the last 15 years, she put her creative eye to work with daughter Paula’s cycling apparel business. Helen’s greatest joy was being a grandma and hosting summer vacations in Montana. She touched the lives of everyone she met and had a wicked sense of humor that kept us all on our toes.

Helen is preceded in death by her husband, Tony; and five siblings, Johnny, Alice, Genevieve, Grace and Leonard. She is survived by sister Marion Caricaburu; daughter Paula; son Tony (Ruthie); daughter Bridget Kornder (Dave); and grandsons Evan and Gregory Dyba. The family would like to thank our dearest Jean Braden and the wonderful neighbors of Palisades Park Drive for their help and friendship, and Jaysie and Stillwater Hospice for their compassionate care and support. Celebrations of Helen’s life will be held in Glasgow and in Billings in July.

The Basque Museum of Boise interviewed Helen for an oral history about the Caricaburu family, available here:


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