Helen Irene Melquist, age 90, of Cokato, passed away Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, at Augustana Lakeside Nursing Home in Dassel.
She was born Jan. 26, 1927, at home in Hale Township, McLeod County, to Theophil and Sophie (Pilarski) Wendolek. Helen grew up on a farm in Hale Township, and attended country school to the eighth grade.
She married Lloyd Melquist Nov. 7, 1945, at the parish house in Silver Lake. The couple had met on a blind date sometime earlier. The wedding day entailed sunshine in the morning, rain in the afternoon and by evening, snow. From this union, they were blessed with four children, Dianne, Loren, Darlene, and Larry.
The couple moved to their farm, northeast of Cokato, where Helen worked with her husband milking cows, and raising pigs, chickens, steers, and cash crops, along with canning many home grown garden vegetables.
Helen loved to cook and care for her family. She was well-known for her great cooking; two of her well-known dishes, made for her family each year, were potato sausage, which she learned from her mother-in-law, Alice; and Czarnina (duck soup), a recipe passed down from her mother.
In her earlier years, Helen worked at Johnson Produce, Northland Canning, and Fabri-Tek. She also was secretary over the farm and sawmill business, and worked alongside Lloyd, running a sawmill for 40 years doing custom sawing and manufacturing pallets, and doing whatever was needed to make a richer life for her family.
Along with all the hard work of the farm, Helen enjoyed raising her children, making pies, cookies and banana bread; playing softball, working at the Evangelical Lutheran Church stand during the Corn Carnival, helping to prepare quilt blocks, and going out dancing with her husband, friends, and relatives. She also served pie on Presidents Day for the Cokato Chamber of Commerce.
Her soul was filled with love, and she treasured the time she was able to spend with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.
Helen was a lifelong member of Cokato Evangelical Lutheran Church.
She is survived by three children: Dianne (Bob) Zitzloff, Darlene (Jim Stigen, fiancé) Larson, both of Cokato, and Larry Melquist of Minneapolis; grandchildren Darwin and Blaine Zitzloff, Josie Koivisto, Jake Pettit, Janna Stigen, and Angela Templin; great-grandchildren Devin, Ryan, and Cheyenne Zitzloff; Deserae Peterson, Dylan and Caleigh Zitzloff, T.J., Charlie, Martin and Brock Koivisto; Addison, Ava, and Breck Pettit; and Gracey and Breana Templin; and great-great-grandchild Carter Peterson; as well as many nieces and nephews.
Helen was preceded in death by her parents, Sophie and Theophil Wendolek; husband Lloyd Melquist; son Loren Melquist; grandson Scott Melquist; and three brothers: Donald, Albert, and Theophil Wendolek.
Helen’s funeral service took place Thursday, Aug. 31 at 11 a.m. at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cokato, with interment at the Cokato City Cemetery. There was visitation at the church one hour prior to the service.
Arrangements were with Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Cokato and Howard Lake; www.swansonpeterson.com.