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Helen A. Piepgras, 101

Helen A.

Piepgras, 101

Died March 26, 2014

Helen Agnes Piepgras, age 101, died peacefully on March 26, at Diamond Willow in Baxter, Minn.

She was born June 5, 1912, in St. Paul, Minn., to Paul & Clara Scheunemann, the oldest of four children. As a little girl she loved sailing in the White Bear Lake ice boats made by Johnson Boatworks. In her teens, she worked after school at a silent movie theater, playing the organ accompaniment.

After graduating high school, she went on to become an executive secretary at the Peavy Company, exchanging that role for that of an executive wife after marrying Alroy Piepgras on Feb. 22, 1941. They traveled to Japan with Al's job with Northwest Orient Airlines and spent 5 years in Tokyo during the occupation by U.S. Forces under General MacArthur following World War II.

After returning to St. Paul, she was instrumental in helping Al establish St. Croix Valley Natural Gas in River Falls, Wis. In River Falls, she was a member of Ezekiel Lutheran church and made valued friends in the women's church circles. On retirement, they lived in Sun City, Ariz., for a number of years. After Al's death in 2002, Helen returned to Brainerd. She was active in Eastern Star and First Presbyterian Church.

Helen was preceded in death by her husband, Al; daughter, Carol; brother, Paul; and sisters, Irene and Leona.

She said her greatest achievement was reaching the age of 100, seeing her three boys grow into fine men with wonderful families, and being able to enjoy her "four greats", Ellie, Ryan, Josh, and Brandon.

She is survived by her sons, Richard (Judy) of Brainerd, Ken (Judi) of Sun City, Ariz., and Don (Marti) of River Falls, Wis.; grandchildren, Steve (Jenn) of Foreston, Minn., and Deborah (Matt) Eberts of Brainerd; and her "four greats" Ellie, Ryan, Josh, and Brandon.

A private memorial service will be held later.

Memorials are preferred to Diamond Willow Assisted Living in Baxter, Minn.

The family would like to express their deep gratitude to the staff at Diamond Willow, St. Croix Hospice, and Dr. Ann Williams for the loving, compassionate, care extended to Helen and her entire family.