Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, counselor and trusted companion to pets of all kinds, Sara (Sally) Louise Helgerson (Hanson), 91 years young, of Oshkosh, WI, passed away on Sunday, March 12, 2023.
Sally was born November 21,1931 in Chippewa Falls, WI to Roy and Lucile (Monat) Hanson. Following her graduation from Chippewa Falls High School in 1950, Sally continued her education at Macalester College and then the University of Wisconsin – Madison, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1955. On September 3rd, that same year, Sally married August Helgerson at the First Presbyterian Church in Chippewa Falls. Together they were blessed with 4 children, Mark, Andrew, David, and Elizabeth. As her children grew up, Sally returned to college and completed a Master of Science degree in Counselor Education at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh. Sally spent nearly 30 years as an academic counselor. Any student who had Sally as a counselor experienced her sincere interest and dedication to their academic endeavor.
Her favorite place on earth was the cottage in western Wisconsin on Lower Long Lake. Augie and his father built the cottage in 1967. In the early morning, Sally loved to kayak with the loons, sing her favorite hymns and meditate. She enjoyed feeding birds – orioles, humming birds, gross beaks, and finches. Anyone spending time at the cottage had strict instructions to “keep the bird feeders full”. The lake was a gathering place for good times with the grandkids and family. At times there could be as many as 7 dogs, 2 cats, and an Amazon Grey parrot, along with 9 grandkids and 8 adults.
At the end of the cottage season, Augie and Sally would head to Arizona in their motorhome for 3 months spending time in Lake Havasu City and Cave Creek, with a month in Mexico. They made many wonderful friendships over those 20 years of RV’ing.
Sally loved her dogs, Odie and Jezabel, and in her earlier years, many horses. But most of all, she loved her family and friends. One of her favorite sayings was “Life is Good!”.
Sally is survived by her husband, August Helgerson, three children, Mark (Shari) Helgerson of Chippewa Falls, WI; Andrew (Kathryn) Helgerson of Onalaska, WI; and Elizabeth (Henry) Merrill of Oshkosh; nine grandchildren, Emily (Tyler) Gray, Sara (Matt) Meinen, Jennifer (Jay) Potterton, Lindsey (David) Krueger, Austin Helgerson, Andrew (Liz) Merrill, Margaret (Danny) Rothe, Samuel (Rebecca) Merrill and Isaiah (Haley) Merrill; and 9 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her son, David William Helgerson, parents Roy and Lucile Hanson, in-laws August and Mildred Helgerson, and sisters Marion Beatty and Margaret (Muggsy) Kalow.
Mom, you taught us so many lessons; having faith in the Lord, doing for others, being gentle with the fish that you catch and release, “banging” a Goodie-goodie at Maxi’s, and saying “I love you” with a hug and a kiss until next time. We have been blessed with your wisdom, your kindness, your gentleness, and your love. We love you forever.
Sally’s family would like to thank the caregivers from Moments Hospice and Country Villa Assisted Living for keeping her safe and comfortable. The family would also like to express their sincere appreciation and gratitude to Sally’s close friends and colleagues, Suzanne and Chris. The love you shared in your weekly visits raised mom’s spirits and the messages shared in the journal did the same for all of us, too.
The memorial service will be at Seefeld Funeral Home, 1025 Oregon Street, Oshkosh, WI on Friday, April 14, 2023 with visitation from 9am until 11am and then service being held at 11am.
In lieu of flowers, please direct memorials in Sally’s name to Oshkosh Humane Society.