Helen Lerene Tripp, 90, of Belle Fourche, SD, and formerly of Gordon, left her earthly home to be with her heavenly family on March 12, 2012. She was born on February 20, 1922 in Redmond, Utah, to Semon and Fuchsia Jensen. She was one of eight children. She attended school in Redmond and eventually graduated from Sevier High School in Redmond.
Helen worked as a soda dispenser until she enlisted in the US Army - the WAC division - in June of 1944. She was a clerk typist and in charge of the mail for the military at Fort Benning, Georgia. It was during this time that she met and fell in love with her soulmate, William Tripp. He was in the US Army also. They married in Columbus, Ga., and when they were both honorably discharged they moved to Belle Fourche, SD. There they set up their home of 62 years and raised their three children: Ellis, Sandra and Terry Lee. Helen worked for Northwestern Bell for 25 years as a building janitor for seven small towns. She would clean the large buildings in Belle Fourche and the telephone booths and small buildings in surrounding towns. She retired from this job in 1986.
Helen was very active in her church - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Belle Fourche. She held many positions, but her favorite was Relief Societ President followed by Visiting Teacher. She enjoyed reading the scriptures and studying the gospel.
After retirement, Helen began to do needlepoint. She made hundreds of towels, table skirts and pillow cases, but when her eyes began to fail and she couldn’t see to do the fine work, she turned to puzzlebook and reading. If you couldn’t find her, all you had to do was look behind a book and there she was.
When her health began to fail her, and her youngest son, Terry Lee, passed away, Helen moved to Gordon to live with her daughter Sandra and her family: William, Kassie and David Redman. She lived in Gordon for two years and then moved to Spearfish, SD to be closer to her son Ellis and lots of her grandchildren. She lived at the Sandstone Manor Assisted Living Center for almost two years and spent her last two weeks of life in the Belle Fourche Health Care Center where she passed away peacefully in her sleep.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband and son, William and Terry Lee, of Belle Fourche. Also preceding her were her parents and six siblings, a son-in-law, Michael Starr, and a granddaughter, Courtney Starr of Belle Fourche, and a grandson, Montgomery Green of Glenrock, Wyo.
Helen loved spending time with her large family. She had 19 grandchildren, 49 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren. She knew the names and birthdates of each and every one of them.
Survivors include her oldest son, Ellis and Mary Lou Tripp of Belle Fourche, and her daughter, Sandra and William Redman of Gordon. Also a sister, May Wilson of Spearfish. Services will be held at the Kline Funeral Home in Belle Fourche, SD, on Friday at 12:30 p.m., with burial at the National Cemetery at Fort Meade, Sturgis, SD. Her grandsons will carry her on her last earthly journey.
A memorial has been established in her memory.