Helen Chalupnik was born July 1, 1911 in Verdigre, Nebraska, to Edward and Anastazia Mlady. She was baptized and confirmed at St. Wencelous Catholic Church in Verdigre, Neb.
Helen graduated from Verdigre High School in 1930 and Wayne State Teachers College in Wayne, Nebraska, thereafter. Helen was actively involved in high school and college, enjoying catholic sokols (gymnastic and operetta events) and Chez Plays.
Helen taught school in Country Schools (grades 1-8) in Nebraska where she rode horseback to and from school. She would arrive early and start a fire to warm the school before the children arrived.
Helen married Henry Leo Chalupnik on July 30, 1935 at St. Wencelous Catholic Church in Verdigre, Neb. Henry was from Beroun, Minn., and went to Verdigre to work for his oldest brother Jim who was an ice cream and butter maker. Jim had a creamery in Verdigre and Norfolk, Neb.
Helen and Henry lived in Verdigre for four years before moving to Hinckley, Minn., where they bought a farm 5 miles south of Hinckley. They farmed here for the next 27 years. Helen helped Henry with the farming, dairy cattle and crops, stacking hay, shocking oats, etc.
Helen always had big gardens, canned and froze vegetables, and fruit. She loved the outdoors, had lots of flowers, a beautiful yard and at one time raised chincillas.
Daughters, Cecelia Ann was born May 13, 1938 and Patricia Mae March 13, 1940.
While helping Henry with the farm, Helen took care of her girls and did the housework.
In the early 1950s, Helen worked at the arsenal in New Brighton, Minn., as a machine operator. She also worked with her “God given talent” to create art in sugar decorations. She was referred to as the “Sugar Lady” and developed her own formulas of frosting to make beautiful sugar flowers to be put on cakes for all occasions. She also made sugar center pieces, nut cups and more.
In 1967, Helen and Henry built a new home in Pine City, Minn., where they enjoyed their retirement with yard, flowers and garden. In 1997, they moved to North Pine Apts. and in 1999 Henry died. Helen continued to live at North Pine, enjoying flowers in the summer and sugar decorations in the winter.
Helen, a devout Roman Catholic, began every day with a prayer “Lord…whatever I do, whatever I say, I’ll do for the greater honor and glory of God”. She was a woman of faith saying rosaries daily for family and friends. One of her frequent quotes was “Prayer is for the soul as food is for the body.”
She was very proud of her CHEZ heritage and language. Helen was a hard worker and often said “I’d rather wear out than rust out.” She was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She was always willing to help!
Helen is survived by two daughters: Cecilia (LeRoy) Shinler of Rush City, Partrcia (Bob) Dunsmore of Hinckley, 12 grandchildren: Brad (Judy) Shinler, Linda (Fred) Goebel, Debra (Dan) Sandeen, Doug (Shellie) Shinler, Tammy (Jerry) Scheffer, Kevin (Anne) Shinler, Jodi (David) Scheffer, Bob (Margaret) Dunsmore, Bruce (Megan) Dunsmore, Marie Drews, James (Shari) Dunsmore, Michael (Liz) Dunsmore; 32 great-grandchildren, 5 great-great-grandchildren, sister-in-law Elsie Mlady, many nieces, nephews and friends.
She is preceded in death by her parents Edward and Anastazia (Pavelka) Mlady, husband Henry Chalupnik, sister Clara Drobny, and her brothers Leo Mlady, and Delbert Mlady.
Monsignor Alexsander Suchan will celebrate a Mass of Christian burial 11 a.m., Friday, September 21 at Immaculate Conception Church in Pine City. A time of visitation and reviewal is planned for Thursday evening from 3-7 p.m. at the Swanson Funeral Chapel in Pine City with a rosary service is planned for 7 p.m. Thursday. There will also be visitation one hour prior to the mass at the church on Friday. Music is provided by Cindy Novy and Kathy Hagberg.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the Funeral and Cremation Service ~ Swanson Chapel, Pine City.