Helen Marie Eischens was born December 19, 1919 in her parent’s home in Two Inlets Minnesota. She was the third of 13 children born to Chris and Mary Eischens. Helen primarily grew up in Minnesota and shared a strong bond with her immediate family. Through the years she also made her home in Iowa and Colorado.
Helen and her husband, Wesley, had six children. She has been preceded in death by her husband Wesley, son Dennis, grandson Scott Gorham, son -in-law Archie Lisco, her parents, and 11 of her siblings. She is survived by 5 of her children, Mary Lisco (Archie), Judy Gorham (Gene), Chuck Kilstrom (Irene), Kevin Kilstrom (Dorota), and Mark Kilstrom (Joann): 22 Grandchildren, 22 Great Grandchildren, and 5 (soon to be 6) Great Great grandsons. She will be dearly missed by her only remaining youngest sister Bernadette Lemert, an abounding number of nieces and nephews, in-laws, and close friends.
Helen lived a full life in which her roles included daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, foster parent and auntie. In addition, some less conventional hats she wore included physical therapist, nurse, referee, reading coach for 1st graders, cheerleader, line dance instructor, a mechanic who could repair most any household appliance, seamstress, butcher, baker, barber, bail bondsman, banker, supreme wench and many more.
Above all Helen is a beloved Child of God. Brought up in the Catholic faith, she worshiped and followed her faith and lived her life to the very best of her ability. We trust that today she is back in the company of God who surely welcomed her home with open arms and greeted her saying something like “well done my good and faithful servant”. Those of us that had the honor of sharing her last days on this earth were humbled by her faith, her strength, and her patience. We witnessed a parade of grandchildren who visited her in her room and via recorded messages conveying their love, respect and gratitude for her love and example. Helen’s last days were spent receiving care from her children in her own bed with no medical apparatuses in sight. She was surrounded by those who love her. We can say without any doubts that she welcomed her own death with faith and hope.
Aside from her love of the Lord, Helen was most fulfilled by family. Helen was instrumental in bringing our family – our big Eischens family – together to celebrate many reunions and other gatherings. Helen delighted in these family gatherings where we would meet, eat, party & pray. One of her wishes is that this family unity and love be carried forward thru future generations. Traditions are priceless and Helen was keenly aware of this truth. To her children she was loving while being uncompromising to her beliefs. She refused to give in to the pressures of doing things the easy way but persisted in following her belief of doing things the right way. She often had to endure tears and anger from her kids when she wouldn’t go along with what we saw friends doing. When we ignored her directions, and if we got caught, there would be repercussions. Sometimes the grounding sentences would be for weeks, but she would typically soften, and we would be released on parole. With the perspective that age and maturity bring we look back with gratitude that she had the strength of character to set an example of what doing the right thing looks like. Helen could be severe in her speech, but most often her actions showed her soft and loving side.
Helen worshiped and loved the Lord, but more importantly she followed the example of Jesus. Jesus healed the sick, Helen helped cure Mary’s polio. Jesus gave food to hungry and shelter to the poor, Helen, with her own six children to take care of opened her home to foster children, fed them and provided their shelter. Jesus welcomed the stranger . Jesus gave sight to the blind, opened the ears of the deaf, and gave speech to the mute, Helen tutored youngsters for many years giving the gift of reading. In Hebrews we read “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” We suspect Helen met up with a few angels in her time.
Wes & Helen made quite a pair. They met at a dance when she was still a teenager, fell in love and were married for 50 sometimes challenging years. Wes had to pass muster with Helen’s folks & siblings, and it seems he passed with flying colors. Outside of church they loved the social life, hosting meals, dancing, card parties, and cocktail parties. Their homes, campers, and even tents were virtual playgrounds for grandchildren. Helen & Wes would travel most anywhere to watch grandkids when their moms and dads had commitments or sometimes just wanted to take a break. Their relationship with their grandkids was full of love and adventures. Her style was to establish someground rules for acceptable behavior, then let the fun begin. The love she shared with her grandkids was reflected often, especially in her final days. Helen loved telling stories of growing up and all of the adventures she had with her siblings and we loved hearing them.
In life we sometimes see what looks like karma. When Helen’s mother became in need of a home, Helen and Wes opened their home which became her mom’s home. When Wesley died, Helen’s daughter and husband opened their home for Helen while she caught her breath. A couple of years later Helen had found her footing and started a new chapter and lived an exciting life for another 30 years, traveling all over the world. When covid threatened Helen’s health she was again welcomed to Judy and Gene’s home where she lived till her last breath.
Helen left her mark and will surely be missed. We thank the Lord for the privilege of sharing her life.
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