1930 Helen 2024

Helen L George

June 14, 1930 — May 29, 2024


Helen L. George (McKeown), 93, of Fridley, passed away at her home on May 29, 2024. She is preceded in death by her husband, Terry George.

Helen was born on Flag Day, June 14, 1930 in Albert Lea, Minnesota. However she spent most of her youth in Republic, Michigan, a small mining town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She attended Northern Michigan University where she met Terry. They transferred to Michigan State University and soon married. They were married for 70 years.  

Helen completed college at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point in 1972, while she and Terry were raising five children, and she was working full-time as a secretary for a public elementary school. Her degrees were in Library Science, History, and a teachers’ certification.

In 1972 the George family moved from Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin to Fridley, Minnesota. Shortly after she began her career with St. Mary of the Lake School in White Bear Lake as a children’s librarian. For 22 years she taught hundreds of children the joy of literature. From reading a good story, to finding the perfect book for a project, she shared her love for books. She decorated the Learning Center, the library, with colorful displays, themes, and even a witch costume or two for Halloween. When children graduated from St. Mary of the Lake, they knew their Dewey Decimal system.

Helen continued to share her enthusiasm for books in her retirement by starting H.M. Books, a business focused on collecting and selling antiquated children’s books. She did online sales of first edition children’s books and direct sales at book vendor venues. She and Terry traveled the country together in a rented van filled with books, attending book fairs and making many new acquaintances. They supported authors by attending numerous author readings and purchasing their signed books.

Helen also volunteered for the arts through The Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota, as an usher at Northrop Auditorium, and as a judge for photography at the Anoka County Fair.

Terry and Helen traveled the world together from the castles of Ireland to the beaches of New Zealand.

Helen was given a green thumb by her mother Frances McKeown and continued planting and enjoying flowers her whole life. An avid card player she and Terry belonged to Bridge Clubs in Wisconsin Rapids and Fridley.

A moment of notoriety entered Helen’s life when the State of Minnesota recognized her as the one millionth Minnesotan to file their taxes online. She was invited to receive a certificate from governor Jesse Ventura. There were two chairs in the room and just before the press event went live Helen inadvertently sat down in the governor’s chair. The staff immediately asked her to move. Helen didn’t budge and the event went forward.

Helen loved her five children, but especially her four grandchildren and her eight great grandchildren, taking them to the theater, museums, and out for ice cream after attending their concerts and sporting events.

In retirement, the George home had two constant sounds on Sundays, the ticking clock on the mantle and Helen and Terry turning pages from several metro papers. After the papers were read, current events were discussed. The volume increased, in the fall afternoons with some measured screaming, when the Vikings played. After Masterpiece theater, the day ended with a bedside book.

Helen’s home was always a treat to come home for the holidays, a big warm hug to greet you at the door and wonderful Thanksgiving meals. She also made great meatloaf, lasagna, and being a true Yooper, delicious pasties. Helen was quick to laugh at Terry’s puns and always had stories to share. Her stories, hugs, and incredible love will be missed.

Private interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen L George, please visit our flower store.


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