Helen was born Nov. 14, 1923 in Georgetown, Ill. to Omer and Myrtle Thornton. She was the youngest of two sisters and one brother, Vivian, Mable, Dale and Helen. Both of Helen’s parents, along with the two sisters and one brother passed away at early ages.
Helen attended Georgetown High School, and went on to further her education at Utterback-Brown Business College in Danville, Ill. After a couple of jobs in Illinois she and a friend decided to head to California for a job at Kaiser Shipyards in Berkley during World War II. It was there that she met up with Roger Dalen, where he was stationed prior to being sent to Attu in the Aleutians with the Navy. This love affair ended up in them coming to Minnesota, where they were married at Cambridge Lutheran Church, with Pastor Harold Peterson officiating on Dec. 8, 1946. Helen and Roger “Pat” were blessed by having two daughters, Barbara Jean in 1949 and Patti Elizabeth in 1955. It was in Minnesota that Helen fell in love with Roger’s parents, Eddie and Pearl Dalen. They were indeed Helen’s adopted parents.
Helen worked in several areas in Cambridge including for Judge Raymond Olson, Carlson Drug Store, Beans Incorporated, Judge Robert Gillespie, Cambridge Star, Cambridge Memorial Hospital, and Isanti Food Store. Helen was a member of the Cambridge Lutheran Church and a member of the Cambridge American Legion Women’s Auxiliary for over 60 years.
Helen is survived by her husband of 64 years Roger “Pat” of Cambridge, daughters Barbara and husband Ken Kotzer of Bloomington, Patti and husband Eugene Leisinger of Eagan, grandchildren Amy Jean Kotzer, Mark (Kate) Kotzer, Brittany (Charlie) Metzig, and Blake (Stephanie) Leisinger. The grandchildren blessed grandma and grandpa with four great grandchildren Gus, Henry and Asher Metzig, and Bennett Kotzer. Also surviving is brother-in-law Don and wife Dorothy Dalen of Cambridge as well as numerous nieces, nephews other relatives and friends.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at Cambridge Lutheran Church with Rev. David Everett officiating. Gwen Anderson, accompanied by Mary Kay O’Neill, will provide the special music. Interment will be in the Cambridge Lutheran Cemetery. Arrangements are with the Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Cambridge.