Helen Bergan, 87, died Sunday, April 27, 2014, at the Good Samaritan Center in Waukon. A memorial service is at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 1, at Decorah Lutheran Church in Decorah, with Pastors Dave Sorenson and Bryon Robertson officiating. Visitation begins at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 1, one hour before services at the church. Private family burial is at a later time at the Lutheran Cemetery in Decorah. The Fjelstul Funeral Home of Decorah is in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the Decorah Community School Foundation, 510 Winnebago St., Decorah, IA 52101; the Good Samaritan Society, 21 East Main St., Waukon, IA 52172; Decorah Lutheran Church, 309 Winnebago St., Decorah, IA; Bethany Lutheran Church, 15 West 14th St., Spencer, IA; or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Helen was born March 23, 1927, in Decorah, the youngest child of Anton and Ida (Hanson) Ellingson.  She was baptized, confirmed and later married at Canoe Ridge Lutheran Church in rural Winneshiek County. Helen attended country school in Winneshiek and Allamakee counties before graduating from Decorah High School in 1944. Helen taught school in Winneshiek County (1944-1951) – serving the country schools of Decorah No. 5, Pleasant No. 1, Clay Hill, Sumner and Madison No. 5. Helen married Donald Enos Bergan (Ridgeway) Aug. 15, 1948. The match was perfect, and their love for each other was strong for their 52 years together. Together they farmed in Madison Township, Winneshiek county, until 1964. Helen and Don moved to Spencer, where they lived until retirement. Donald and Helen owned and operated Bergan Welding Supply, Inc. Helen also worked at Winslow’s clothing store. They were members of Bethany Lutheran Church (Spencer) and Decorah Lutheran Church. After retirement, Helen and Don enjoyed winters in Arizona. They moved back to Decorah in 1999. Throughout her life Helen was industrious and frugal—traits imprinted from her parents and older siblings. These traits served Helen and Don well as they raised their own family on their dairy farm and then started their off-the-farm business. Never idle, Helen enjoyed sewing, handcrafts, gardening, reading, music and travel. While in Spencer Helen greatly appreciated the public library services and the Senior Center – where she enjoyed volunteering. Helen was an active member of the Bethany Lutheran Church (Spencer) and served as teacher for youth Sunday school classes, teen confirmation classes and the adult Bethel Series classes. She was a life-long learner and took great pride in her children’s educational, career and life endeavors.

Helen is survived by her two daughters and their spouses: Marsha Bergan (Sally Weyer) of Iowa City,; and Karen Bergan (Dennis Norden) of Decorah. Helen also is survived by her sister, Bernice Byrnes, of Waukon; her sister-in-law, Thelma Ellingson, of Decorah; 38 nieces and nephews; 91 grand-nieces and -nephews; and 39 great-grand-nieces and –nephews. at last count.

Helen is preceded in death by immediate family members: her parents; her husband, Donald Bergan (May 23, 2001); her son, Eric Bergan (Oct. 31, 1994); four brothers (Arnold, Julius, Erven and Clifford); and three sisters (Tilvina Bigler, Myrtle Bigler and Irene Tilleros).

The family thanks the wonderful staff of Good Samaritan Center (Waukon) for their loving care of Helen since September 2012.