Helen Marie Ries Strekall
In the early morning hours of Oct. 5, 2021, our dearly loved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother was paid a visit by God’s angels, who assisted her on her journey to join Him and her husband.
Helen Marie Ries Strekall was born on Nov. 9, 1926, in Conrad. Her father was John Ries and her mother was Eva Stoltz Ries. Helen had three brothers: Alfred, Raymond and Joe Ries. Her three sisters were Leola Salansky, Esther Crawley and DeEtta Bressler. All have preceded her in death.
Helen’s mother passed away when Helen was 9 years old. About two years later, she moved to Conrad and lived with her older sister, Leola. Her sister’s husband owned a grocery store, where Helen worked through her high school years. In 1944, she moved to Missoula and attended the University of Montana for one year. After that school year, Helen worked for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Helen then took a job in Helena with the VA office and later moved back to Missoula with the VA’s office there.
On Aug. 26, 1946, Helen married Steve Strekall. After he received his law degree, they moved to New Jersey, lived and worked there for 18 months. Missing Montana, they moved back to Billings and built a house on Grand Avenue. Helen worked for American Telephone Co. and, after a year or so, daughter Patty arrived and was followed a year later with the birth of their son, Michael.
Helen worked at Hart Albin Co. for 19 years. After retirement, she volunteered in the St. Vincent Hospital Gift Shop for 18 years.
Helen and Steve enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping trips with family and many friends. In their later years, they were snowbirds and would travel to Arizona and California to spend their winters with family and friends there.
Helen was also preceded in death by her husband, Steve Strekall; and grandson, Joseph Alan Strekall. She is survived by her daughter, Patty Westerman (Sonny); son Dr. Michael Strekall (Brenda); grandson Ken Strekall; granddaughters Lisa Reams (Nathan), Kristen Nickodemus (Matt), five great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
The family gratefully acknowledges the many compassionate staff members at Hanson Cottage/St. John’s who tenderly cared for Helen over the years. They and the Stillwater Hospice team are sincerely appreciated!
A vigil will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave. Funeral mass will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 2055 Woody Drive.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Helen’s name may be made to Stillwater Hospice, St. Vincent de Paul or Special K Ranch.
Grandma, we love you, we will miss you and we rejoice with you!
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