Helen Mary Ann (Simon) Oquist, born in Milwaukee, WI on January 7, 1926 went peacefully to her heavenly home on January 20, 2014 only 13 days after her 88th birthday.
She was the youngest daughter of the late Louis and Julia Anna (Salek) Simon, and grew up on small farms throughout the Milwaukee area. She graduated from high school at 18, and immediately was hired to work in the secretarial field. Helen married Jonas Oscar Oquist Jr. on August 25, 1951, officiated by Rev. Joseph Wannenmacher at The Full Gospel Assembly of God church on W. Madison Street in Milwaukee. They settled in Irma, WI near Tomahawk; where Helen took up homemaking. Within a few short years, they moved back to Milwaukee where Oscar found work at the Milwaukee Box Plant. In 1960 the couple built their first home and moved their growing family to the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls, where they set down roots. Helen was always very involved in her church as a teacher, Sunday school superintendent, and vocalist. After many years off the farm, Helen and Oscar moved to a dairy farm in Ogema, some 40 miles from Irma, WI. There, Helen stayed active farming alongside her husband, gardening, crocheting, writing, sewing, and keeping involved in church. Helen’s vision became very poor, and Oscar’s failing health brought them to Bethany Home in Waupaca, WI 10 years ago. Helen lost her husband one year later to renal kidney failure. In a few years time, she was moved to Heartwood, the memory care wing of Bethany Home, for more complete care. She continued playing the piano, singing and perusing the halls every day, until recently. While Helen’s memory of family and friends faded she only grew sweeter, and will be remembered by many as the sweet little lady that sang all day long.
Helen is preceded in death by her parents and husband; sisters: Mildred (Millie) Sault and Elizabeth (Betty) Simon; sisters-in-law: Esther (Oquist) Henderson, Mary Ann Oquist, Margaret (Oquist) Reichert; brothers-in-law: Thomas Sault Sr., Norman Pfenning, Robert Henderson, Arthur Reichert, and Arnold Bergh; nephews: Thomas Sault Jr., Jerry Pfenning and Keith Pfenning. Helen is survived by 102-year-old sister, Tess Pfenning, FL; sister-in-law, Kathryn Bergh, MS; brothers-in-law, Fredrick (Jean) Oquist, West Allis, WI; J. Ludwig (Maxine) Oquist, Waupaca, WI; five children: Janice (Philip) Blohm, Waupaca, WI; Dennis Oquist, Madison, WI; Curtis Oquist, Milwaukee, WI; Glenn (Patricia) Oquist, Jct. City, KS, and Lynette (Lee) Bagley, Mt. Home, ID; 6 grandchildren and spouses; 13 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Helen’s life will be held 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 23, 2014 at the First Assembly of God church, 1420 Berlin Street, Waupaca, WI. Friends and family may gather at church from 9 a.m. until the time of the service. A brunch will be served; with internment to follow at Memorial Park Cemetery in Merrill, WI. The Maple Crest Funeral Home of Waupaca is assisting the family with arrangements.