from Billing Gazette Jan 27, 2014
Our beloved sister, aunt, and friend passed away peacefully Jan. 23, after a short stay at the Riverstone Hospice Home. Having lived independently for 95 years, Helen suffered a stroke on Dec. 13. Born and raised on the family homestead near Vida, Mont., of Norwegian immigrant heritage, to Regina (Christopherson) and Alfred Wanderaas on Nov. 12, 1918, she was endeared as the "Armistice Baby."
After graduating from Wolf Point High School in 1936, Helen enrolled in Billings Business College and enjoyed working in Billings, especially her many years at Bidlake Insurance Agency. During her professional career she was an active officer for the Billings Women's Professional Insurance Organization. On Aug. 30, 1941, Helen married the love of her life, Gordon Youst. They spent their early years together supporting the World War II effort by working in the war industries in St. Louis, Mo., Utah and Nebraska. Upon returning home to Billings, they continued their full lives together by enjoying family, friends, careers and especially the music and dancing of the Big Band Era.
Being a longtime Billings resident, she took an active interest in watching her city develop and grow into the thriving community it is today. Helen embraced helping people from all walks of life, and she never turned away a person who needed a meal or a place to stay. She will always be remembered for her warm smile, extraordinary gift of hospitality, and a compassionate heart filled with love and sage wisdom. She had a gift for the attention to detail and was known for her crystal clear memory of dates, anniversaries, places and events.
Helen treasured her church family and was a faithful servant and member of First Evangelical Free Church and the White Cross Women's Ministries. She was a supporter and home host for Child Evangelism Fellowship. She was an original member of the Deaconess Mended Hearts Support Group, a longtime Billings Clinic Volunteer and a member of RSVP. She also enjoyed and honored her heritage through active membership in Sons of Norway's, Jotunheimen Lodge No. 4-499.
Helen was preceded in death by her parents; husband Gordon (1978); siblings Arthur, Harold, Nellie (Foster), Leonard; sisters-in-law, Ruth Wanderaas and Velda Youst Miller; and nephew, Terry Dobson. Survivors include brother Bernard Wanderaas; and her nieces and nephews David Wanderaas (Kim), Camille Spitzer (Bill), Bonnie Bohmbach (Clark), Steve Wanderaas (Cathy), Melody Dobson, Bernadine Strange (Mike) and Sylvia Koitmaa (Mark), Dwight Foster (Beverly), Dennis Foster (Ann), Gwen Miller and Gary Miller-Youst; loving God child, Lynette DeShaw; and many great nieces, nephews, cousins, neighbors, and beloved friends.
A celebration of Helen's life will be held Friday, Jan. 31, 11 a.m. at First Evangelical Free Church, 401 Custer Avenue, Billings. Cremation has taken place. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Child Evangelism Fellowship, PO Box 81254, Billings, MT 59108 or a charity of choice. Arrangements by Smith Funeral Chapels.
Helen's family will always remember her fondly for her enthusiasm for picnics in the park, which were sure to include her famous fried chicken and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.