Helga was born in Chicago, Illinois, on May 31, 1926, to Bernhard and Anna (Muller) Foken.
As a child, Helga enjoyed visiting her aunts and uncles on their farms in South Dakota during the summer. She graduated from Waller High School in Chicago 1944 and attended one year of business school. She was very involved with a German sport and camping club that became like a second family to her. As an adult, Helga worked for Illinois Bell Telephone Company, and had fun times going out dancing with her girlfriends in the city. On March 10, 1951, she married Thomas G. Seversen at Morland Lutheran Church in Chicago and became a full-time homemaker. They continued being part of the same WGSA: Friendship Sport Club from her earlier years and had many fun trips around Chicago and into Wisconsin with their close friends. While in Chicago, Tom and Helga were blessed with three daughters.
In December 1972, they moved to a hobby farm just north of New London, Wisconsin. From then on she was an active member of Emanuel Lutheran Church and volunteered with their Ladies Aid group. In later years she also enjoyed being a part of the New London Women’s Club and made many dear friends there, too. Growing up in the city did not deter Helga from throwing herself into “living off the land.” She learned a lot from her new friends in the country and created an extensive garden, doing much annual canning and freezing of her own home-grown bounty. Helga was an amazing homemaker, accomplished seamstress, cook and gardener. She truly embodied the words “hard-worker” and was always thinking of others before herself. Helga loved birds and nature, singing and music, ice cream and chocolate, but most of all, her family and friends. After struggling for a number of years with numerous health issues, Helga passed away on July 28, 2014.
She is survived by her devoted husband of 63 years, Tom, and daughters Nancy (Woeshnick), New London, Ellen (and Bryen Handschke), Redgranite, and Ingrid (and Tom Hemesath), Alexandria, Virgina. Also grandchildren, Charlotte, Wesley (and Jodi), and Bradley Handschke (all of New London) and Anja Hemesath (of Virginia), as well as great-grandchildren, Mason, Jenna, Whitney and Carson Handschke… all of whom love their “Oma” dearly. Helga is also survived by older sister, Ellen Barwick of Newtown, CT, and nephews and niece: Robert, Michael and Susan and their cherished families; as well as sister-in-law, Beverly Seversen of Salida, CO, and nephew and niece John and Joann and their wonderful families. Helga was preceded by the earlier death of her parents and more recently by brother-in-law, Edward Seversen, and in 2013 her dear son-in-law, Lawrence Woeshnick, and her close cousin, Gertrud Zint. Helga would not want us to mourn her death, but would want us to celebrate her long, good life and now her eternal home in heaven. Helga said, “The dear Lord put an angel on my shoulder who guided me through the many ups and downs of life… and now I’m guided to heaven.” She will be truly missed by all who knew and loved her.
Funeral services for Helga will be held on Friday, August 1, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Residence Chapel, New London with Rev. Marcus Schulz officiating. Visitation will be held at the chapel on Friday from 1:00 p.m. until the time of service. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Emanuel Lutheran Church Ladies Aid or the New London chapter of the American Cancer Society. Cline & Hanson Funeral Home, New London, is assisting the family with arrangements.