Helen Hamre, 93, of Watford City, died on Saturday evening, Sept. 12, 2009, at the Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Watford City. Funeral services were held Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, at First Lutheran Church in Watford City. Rev. Chris Montgomery officiated and interment was held at Cherry Cemetery. Friends may share memories and condolences at www.fulkersons.com.
Helen Gunderson Hamre was born Feb. 20, 1916, to Bennie and Myrtle (Hagenstone) Gunderson on the family farm near Banks, N.D. She was their second child. Following the early and untimely death of her mother, Helen and her six siblings were sent to live with family near Edmonton, Canada. Her early schooling began there. She later attended school in the Banks area and graduated from Watford City High School in 1933. She attended college in Dickinson for a short time before returning to Watford City and was employed at the McKenzie County Courthouse.
A lifelong partnership began when Helen was introduced to the brother of her good friend, Thelma Hamre. On Oct. 19, 1940, Helen was united in marriage to Olav Hamre. It was a marriage that would last until his death in 1993. Helen and Olav worked side by side on their farm in Cherry Township raising wheat, cattle, sheep and a huge garden. They had three children, Meredythe (Mel) Bagley, of Bowman, N.D.; LeAnn (Larry) Hilderman of Libby, Mont., and Owen (Laurie) Hamre, of Arnegard, N.D., who continue to work on the original farm. Olav and Helen were very proud of the designation of their farm as a North Dakota Pioneer Farm.
Helen’s skill around the kitchen began at the tender age of eight while helping care for her younger brothers and sisters. It was widely known and deeply appreciated by her family and friends. No one walked away from the Hamre table hungry! Grandma’s doughnuts will always have a special place in the family memory along with her mouth-watering lefse made each holiday season. The students of the Watford City High School were the benefactors of many home-style meals served each day while she was employed in the school hot lunch program.
She was a charter member of Cheery Homemakers, TOPS, the hospital auxiliary, First Lutheran Church and circles, and the Sons of Norway. Helen and Olav enjoyed square dancing for many years with the Prairie Promenaders.
In addition to her three children and their spouses, Helen is survived by her sister, Effie Enderud; seven grandchildren, Gwen (Lee Erickson) Kelly, Kevin (Janel) Bagley, Kirk Bagley, Scott Hilderman, Kristin (Rich) Price, Dan Hamre, and Sarah (Bryan) Gefroh; as well as seven great-grandchildren, Matt and Andrew Bagley, Brett and Brad Kelly, Connor and Karson Price, and Peyton Bagley.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Olav; brothers, Stan, Alan, and Donald Gunderson; and sisters, Dorothy Gunderson and Claire Gunderson.