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Helen Grenlin, 88, of Grand Forks, ND, formerly of Oslo, MN, passed away on Saturday evening, January 20, 2018, in Valley Eldercare, Grand Forks.
Helen Josephine was born on January 28, 1929, in East Grand Forks, MN, to James and Beatrice (Antes) Fanfulik. Her family moved to Angus, MN, and she attended country school, high school in Warren, MN, graduating from Sacred Heart in 1947. On August 24, 1948, Helen was united in marriage to Ivan Lester Nelson in Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Tabor, MN. The couple made their home in rural Oslo, where Lester did carpentry work and the two raised seven children. When the children were older, Helen worked at Oslo Public High School as a cook.
Lester died on June 14, 1971, and Helen had to raise her family on her own. She took a job at Valley State Bank, where she retired in 2001. She was very blessed to marry again, and on June 20, 1975, she was married to Lester Jerome Grenlin in St. Joseph Catholic Church. They moved into town and after twenty years of marriage, Lester Grenlin died on September 10, 1995. In October 2017, Helen moved from Oslo into Parkwood Senior Living, Grand Forks.
Helen will be remembered for her servant's heart; making welcome baskets for new residents of her community, hundreds of funeral lunches during her time on St. Joseph's Altar Society (1979-2013), serving as a two-term parish council member, treasurer and past-president of the American Legion Auxiliary Post #331, and a hospice volunteer. She was an excellent cook, baker, and made particularly good lefse, one year taking orders for over 100 dozen. Her family was of utmost importance in her life and she always did her best to attend her grandchildren's various events and keep a close correspondence, sending handwritten cards to them and to many others in her life.
Left to mourn her passing are her children, Ronald (Mieko) of Virginia Beach, VA, Duane (Mary) of Elwood, NE, Diane (Jerry) Sherlock of Grand Forks, Steven (Mary) of Manvel, ND, Patricia (Gary) Morin of East Grand Forks, and Richard (Renee Hanson) of Oslo; 15 grandchildren, Shiho del Rosario, Karen (Pato) Aguilera, Brenna Fong, Angela (Fred) Puls, Michael (Meggan) Nelson, Sarah (Frank) Leising, Nicole Nelson, Jessica (Paul) Rogus, Samantha (Alex) Schilke, Matthew Morin, Casey (Kristine) Morin, Chelsea Morin, Heidi Nelson, Amy Nelson, and Taylor (Nikie Hoffman) Nelson; 15 great-grandchildren, Jacob, JaLynn, Isabela, Mateo, Julieann, Aliah, Miranda, Reed, Charlotte, Clara, Conner, Dean, Kennedy, Logan, and Emily; brother, Richard (Marge) Fanfulik of Union, New Jersey; sisters-in-law, Frances Fanfulik of Warren, Lillian Fanfulik of Thief River Falls, MN, Ivy Quern of Grand Forks, and Shirley Nelson of Hermantown, MN; and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her two husbands, Helen was preceded in death by her son, Lee Nelson; grandson, Shad Fong; sisters, Beatrice Mischel and Mary Ann Johnston; and brothers, James, Frank, Joseph, George, Albert, and Emil.
MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Friday, January 26, 2018, at 11:00 AM, in St. Joseph Catholic Church, Oslo, MN.
VISITATION: One hour prior to Mass.
INTERMENT: St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Oslo, MN.
IN LIEU OF FLOWERS: Memorials preferred to St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Oslo, MN.