Howard J. Helland -- Rochester

October 3, 2018

Howard J. Helland, age 92, of Rochester, died Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, at River Bend Assisted Living with loving care provided by Mayo Hospice and the Visiting Angels.

Howard was born Feb. 14, 1926, north of Binford, N.D., the son of Hjalmer and Julia (Gilbertson) Helland. He grew up on the family farm and attended a one-room country school for eight years. After furthering his education in Griggs County, he entered the U.S. Army. He served in the Philippines, and after the war ended, spent one year with Occupational Forces in Japan.

Upon returning home, he spent two years helping his father on the farm. Howard worked in Cooperstown, N.D., then he enrolled in the North Dakota State College of Science at Wahpeton, N.D. Upon graduating, he enrolled in and graduated from two other schools, Northwestern, St. Paul, and Brown Institute of Minneapolis.

While in college, he met Violet B. Lenz. They married June 21, 1953, then moved to Wadena for 2½ years, where they both were employed. Howard worked as Chief Engineer and Announcer at Radio Station KWAD, Wadena. They later moved to Fargo, N.D., and subsequently moved to Rochester, where Howard joined IBM and was employed for 41 years until his retirement.

He was a member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church since 1957, where he served as an usher for over 51 years, was a member of the Sons of Norway and American Legion Post #92. Howard took great pride in his country and Army service and cherished an Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C., on May 21, 2011.

His interests were fishing and watching the Twins and Vikings play, visiting with family plus going on cruises and traveling to many places, including Norway, Germany, Israel and Montana many times as his family lived there along with many U.S. states, plus a lifelong hobby of Photography.

He is survived by his wife, Violet; two sons, Kevin (Linda) of Lake Elmo, and Todd (Lisa) of Tea, S.D.; two daughters, Deborah (Joel) Fritsche and Sonja (Scott) Kranz of Rochester. Other survivors include one brother, Gordon (Nancy) Helland and one sister, Gladys Vammen, Melbourne, Fla.; 10 grandchildren, Melissa, Mike, Nick, Kate, Angie, Mandy, Brandon, Rhiannon, Kirsten and Julia; and 12 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Hjalmer and Julia Helland; one brother, Arthur; and three sisters, Myrtle, Sylvia and Irene.

The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 1212 12th Ave. NW, Rochester, with Pastor Karna Hagen Moskalik officiating. The visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes, 5421 Royal Place NW, Rochester, also one hour prior to the service at the church. The burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery in Rochester with military honors provided by the American Legion Post #92.

Memorials are preferred to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. To share a special memory please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com.

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